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05 March 2008

Millions die from cervical cancer

Almost a quarter million women die from cervical cancer each year although the disease is largely preventable, the U.N. health agency said.

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Almost a quarter million women die from cervical cancer each year although the disease is largely preventable, the U.N. health agency said.

Cancer of the cervix, at the base of the uterus, kills more women annually than childbirth, but can be significantly reduced through effective screening and treatment, the World Health Organisation said in a 255-page manual for implementing cervical cancer programmes.

A further half million women are diagnosed with the cancer each year, 80 percent of whom come from the world's poor countries, the report found.

1 million new cases expected
"By 2050, there will be 1 million new cases of cervical cancer each year in the developing world alone," said Dr. Peter Boyle, director of the World Health Organisation's cancer research team. "But cervical cancer is one form of cancer where we can do something about it."

In rich countries, most women regularly receive Pap smears - reducing the rate of cervical cancer by up to 90 percent - but the developing world generally lacks the resources and training to provide similar diagnoses, according to Dr. Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, a WHO expert on cancer screening.

WHO's manual outlines more affordable strategies for diagnosing and treating the cancer, including visual checks through a scope and using compressed gas to freeze precancerous lesions. – (Sapa-AP)

 
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