International Cervical Cancer
The Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC) aims to empower people, communities and societies internationally to reduce the disease burden from HPV and cervical cancers through collective engagement, advocacy, collaboration and education.
Approximately 80% of cervical cancer cases and 85% of cervical cancer related deaths occur in the developing world. Most women present for treatment in very advanced stages of the disease and therein lies the challenge. However, early detection can easily decrease the number of advanced cervical cancer cases, the financial burden of treating advanced cases and the loss of life secondary to the disease. Lack of knowledge, poor infrastructure, and limited finances make progress in the foreseeable future questionable. Hence, creative models through which people, communities and societies engage collectively, with or without help from the government, are necessary for successful control of this cancer.
GIAHC acts as a coordinating platform between communities at grassroots level, and academic/training institutions, to help raise awareness about HPV related diseases and cervical cancer in a culturally sensitive manner. Our model works on the principle of task shifting: to shift less sophisticated procedures such as cervical cancer screening and early treatment from highly trained professionals (such as physicians) to nurses and community health workers (CHWs) with appropriate training, particularly in regions of the world where there are acute shortages in human resources.
To learn more about GIAHC and it’s programs, visit www.giahc.org.
Workshop on Low-tech Screening and Treatment For Cervical Cancer Prevention
(In memory of Michele Baldwin 1966-2012)
The Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC), will be co-hosting a community-training workshop for cervical cancer prevention at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, in conjunction with the Asia Oceania Research Organization on Genital Infections and Neoplasia (AOGIN 2015) conference on August 27, 2015.
Cervical cancer is the only cancer that is almost completely preventable by safe, simple and inexpensive methods, and yet, every TWO minutes, one woman dies an unnecessary death from this cancer in the world. Unlike other cancers that occur in older age, cervical cancer peaks between the ages of 35-65 years and not only takes the life of young women, but devastates families with young children along the way.
India has the highest numbers of cervical cancer cases in the world with 25 percent of the cases occurring in this country.
The death rates from cervical cancer have reduced by 75 percent in the DEVELOPED world. The seminal reason for the decrease in mortality is the availability of a simple screening test called the “Pap test”. The Pap test detects precancerous changes of the cervix (the opening of the uterus) before they progress to invasive cancer. A clinician uses a brush to collect cells from the cervix, which is then transported to laboratory and analyzed. Results are relayed to the clinician, who then communicates them to the patient and advises her on future follow-ups. However in the developing world, trying to establish and maintain such a cumbersome program is not feasible. Hence there is a need for a simple and practical technique that can be applied in such areas of the world.
The World Health organization has endorsed a simple and practical technique called visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for low-resource settings: Here, the cervix is painted with household vinegar and abnormal tissue turns white within a few minutes. Trained physicians and non- physicians such as a, midwife, nurse, or a clinician conduct the test and carry out early treatment in outreach area. Such a programs minimize the patients’ costs associated with transportation and time off from work. Studies have shown that this technique, though not perfect is most feasible and practical and has reduced the morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer between 30-40 percent.
In order to facilitate this method of screening in rural and low-resource settings, GIAHC will be co- hosting the community-training workshop for cervical cancer prevention at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, in conjunction with the AOGIN 2015 conference.
The workshop is intended for interested medical officers, nursing staff and community health care providers from different health care delivery settings.
Following is a summary of the program. For details, please refer to the AOGIN 2015 website.
- Community education and preparation
- Epidemiology of cancer cervix
- Community education and preparation
- Epidemiology of cancer cervix Visual Inspection with acetic acid (VIA)
- Cold coagulation
- Algorithm for managing screen positive cases
- Referral Infection control
- Establishing a “screen- and- treat” project in your community (check list).
Click here to download a flyer for the event.
Michele Baldwin Saves Many Lives in Ladakh
Michele Baldwin, a pioneering cervical cancer advocate (1966-2012), is making big waves! Here’s a clip of a film with Michele that was recently dubbed in Ladakhi in order to create awareness in the women in that region. It attracted 1,700 women who got screened and received early treatment in 4.5 days by a voluntary medical team. 120 of them underwent early treatment. The video dubbed in Ladakhi:
We hope the Michele Baldwin Memorial Fund will be able to support many such fantastic projects in the future.