New Delhi: More than 58 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer globally were estimated in Asia, with India accounting for the highest number of cases at 21 per cent followed by China at 18 per cent. According to a recent Lancet study, out of the 40 per cent of total deaths from cervical cancer 23 per cent occur in India followed by 17 per cent in China.
The Lancet revealed that Africa followed Asia (20 per cent), Europe (10 per cent) and Latin America (10 per cent) and more than half of deaths were estimated in Asia (58 per cent) followed by Africa (22 per cent), and Latin America (9 per cent).
Globally in 2020, there were over 600,000 estimated new cervical cancer cases and over 340,000 resulted in deaths.
Incidence was markedly above the WHO threshold of 4 per 100,000 women to consider cervical cancer eliminated as a public health problem in populous countries including China (10.7 cases per 100,000 women), India (18.0 cases), Indonesia (24.4 cases), Russia (14.1 cases), and Brazil (12.7 cases).
It stated that targets to reach the WHO elimination threshold by 2030 will be missed unless countries scale up screening programmes, improve coverage of human papillomavirus or HPV vaccination and improve access to affordable treatment.
In 2020, rates of cervical cancer cases were 13 per 100,000 women per year and there were seven deaths per 100,000 women per year. Incidence rates in 172 out of 185 countries exceeded the four cases per 100,000 women per year, it said.
Looking at the trend data from 1988 to 2017, the authors observed a major decline in cases in some Latin American countries, including Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica. A similar pattern was observed in Asia in India, Thailand, and South Korea, as well as in Eastern Europe in Poland, Slovenia, and Czechia. However, there were increases in cases in Eastern Europe, in Latvia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria, and Eastern Africa in the past decade, as well as in The Netherlands and Italy.
“Persistently high rates of cervical cancer in LMICs and recent increases in countries in Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa are of particular concern,” it said.
Earlier in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a target to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, aiming to reduce incidence below a threshold of four cases per 100,000 women per year in every country by 2030. This study tracks the progress on cervical cancer rates and identifies the countries and regions where efforts require scaling up to reach WHO targets.
Rates varied significantly between countries, with a 40 times difference in cases and 50 times difference in deaths, it further said.
Deependra Singh, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) / WHO, France, says: “HPV vaccination and screening technologies mean that cervical cancer is now largely preventable.