Expanding access to cervical cancer screening and treatment in rural India

Mobile clinic, India

In India, lack of awareness of cancer as a treatable disease remains low, and women's access to screening and treatment services is limited. When cancers are diagnosed at an advanced stage, mortality rates are high. With early detection and treatment, cervical cancer has a much lower morbidity and mortality rates. 

The human papillomavirus can be transmitted through sexual contact and, depending on the virus type, can lead to cervical cancer. This highlights the importance of preventing transmission of the virus, as well as early detection and prevention. 

The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has worked hard to raise awareness. Health education sessions are held in static and mobile clinics, and media campaigns help to ensure information reaches as many as possible, including the most vulnerable groups. The Association provides counselling and screening services, including HIV and other sexually transmitted infection tests. A formal referral protocol with other healthcare facilities enables follow up of clients and provision of emotional support.

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of cervical cancer screening services using the visual inspection methods also increased significantly from 2,301 to 22,636.