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ICMR-NICPR to conduct online course on cervical cancer screening for pathologists

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is set to conduct online certificate course on cervical cancer screening for pathologists with an aim to increase the number of trained cytopathologists in the country for the effective implementation of cervical cancer screening programme.

The online course will be held by the division of cytopathology, ICMR-NICPR under the aegis of Indian Academy of Cytologist from August 3, 2022 to October 7, 2022. The course shall be conducted solely on the online ECHO platform. Those pursuing or completed MD/DNB Pathology/DCP are eligible to apply for the online programme.

Cytology-based cervical cancer screening has had an illustrious history of success in reducing the morbidity and mortality due to cervical cancer especially in the developed countries. However, the paucity of trained cytopathologists is a deterrent for effective implementation of cervical cancer screening programmes in developing nations including India. To overcome the shortage of trained cytopathologists in the country, ICMR-NICPR has taken the initiative to conduct a 64-day online course on cervical cancer screening, said Dr Shalini Singh, director, NICPR.

The course shall include talks by eminent experts on topics pertaining to various aspects of cervical cancer including epidemiology, screening strategies, recommendations for cervical cancer screening with major focus on cytology-based screening. The didactic deliberations shall be amply supplemented by interactive virtual slide sessions. In addition, live microscopy sessions in virtual mode shall be conducted for enhanced learning, Dr Singh added.

Cervical cancer is a cancer that affects 1 in every 79 Indian women, with India contributing to nearly 1/5th of all cervical cancer cases in the world, according to the GLOBOCAN report published by the International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC). Most of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer undergo complicated, expensive treatment regimens which accrue to large financial liabilities. This is due to late-stage detection, stemming from lack of awareness on screening methodologies and paucity of access to these screening tests.

“The HPV DNA test is regarded by experts as the gold standard of screening methodologies. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes 99 per cent of all cervical cancers, and the HPV DNA test is able to detect minute changes in cervical cell specimens, which may be indicative of a high risk. If the HPV test is negative, the woman does not have CIN or cervical cancer at the time of testing and is highly likely to not develop CIN or Cancer in the next 5-10 years,” said Dr. Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, MD & director, Preventive Oncology at Karkinos Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also recommended HPV DNA test for early detection of cervical cancer among women followed by standard diagnosis and treatment. Early detection of cervical cancer has shown that treatments are less complex and less expensive, with some pre-cancers treated in simple outpatient procedures. The survival rates are much higher, than if the cancer is detected in later stages.

Dr Hema Diwakar, former president, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) said “Still, 70 per cent of the urban population hasn’t taken the HPV vaccine yet. HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 11–12 years. These vaccines can be given starting at the age of 9 years. All preteens need HPV vaccination, so they are protected from HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. HPV vaccines protect against cervical cancer. It is better to screen the mother and vaccinate the daughter. FOGSI has announced ‘Cervical Mukt Bharat. One of the reasons behind the rising infertility cases in India is late marriages.”


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Dr Nisha K Erummal Aug 1, 2022 1:05 PM
Interested in the course. Please send me the details.
Dr Richard Thompson Jul 15, 2022 5:38 AM
I am interested in this course
Please send me the details
thank you
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