Cervical cancer has become the second most common cancer leading to deaths of women. According to the National Centre for Disease Informatics Research, and National Cancer Registry Program reports, incidence of cervical cancer is highest in Bathinda at 17.5, followed by Mansa 17.3. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer every year worldwide is expected to almost double from 1.7 million in 2015 to 3.2 million, and cervical cancer is predicted to rise by at least 25% to over seven lakh by 2030, mostly in low and middle income countries (LMICs), according to the cancer registries.
There are significant number of cervical cancer cases being recorded in the state since the past few years. Cervical cancer can be prevented through HPV vaccination, an efficacious and safe preventive option. HPV vaccine, especially if given to girls of age group of 9-13, can help protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine efficacy is best seen if administered to girls from 10 years onwards.
The Punjab state government will soon sign an MoU with UNICEF to procure 40,000 Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines to check the spread of cervical cancer in the state. In the first phase, the vaccine would be administered to approximately 10,000 class VI girl students in government schools of Mansa and Bathinda districts. NGOs with government help are trying to introduce this vaccine at an affordable cost at the earliest. The initiative of the government is well appreciated for deciding to introduce HPV vaccination in immunization schedule.