Low cost method developed for cervical cancer screening

Annually, 1.25 lakh new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in India

Cervical cancer ribbon Cervical cancer ribbon

Off late, there's been good news in the area of cervical cancer. The topmost is India got its first indigenously developed vaccine, CERVAVAC, for the prevention of cervical cancer. This is followed by the point of care diagnostic kit called 'Crisprly,' developed by researchers from IIT-Roorkee, which helps in the detection of most oncogenic strain of HPV - the HPV16.

Crisprly is a cost effective kit for use in low resource settings without the need for special equipment or a trained professional. The latest news on research and application to be added to the cervical cancer prevention kit is the VIA method of screening. 

As per reports, more than 95% of cases of cervical cancer happen due to persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), an extremely common family of viruses that are majorly transmitted through sexual contact. And of all those cases, reports suggest that close to 1.25 lakh new cases of cervical cancer get diagnosed in India annually. 

For years, the mode of testing for cervical cancer has been the PAP smear test but the most recent and emerging methodology is the HPV based screening test or the VIA or Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid method. 

"This is a low cost, effective, easy-to-implement way of screening women for cervical cancer in both cities and villages. Results are available in almost an instant post the test," said Dr. Gauravi Misra, Professor and Physician at Tata Memorial Hospital.

Most recently, the VIA method of screening was implemented by the Life Wins Foundation in association with Tata Memorial Hospital and Indian Cancer Society at a cancer awareness and screening camp in New Mumbai's crowded suburb of Vashi. Around 60 women were examined in the camp. Screening was carried out for oral and breast cancers too, along with cervical cancer.

The screening drive was a part of Life Wins Foundation's sensitization programme aimed at creating awareness on the significance of early detection of cancer which can enable early treatment and better outcomes.

According to research, the VIA acetic method is best used in low resource settings and is apt for an 'Indian audience.'