More women in India die from cervical cancer than in any other country, according to a new report that warns deaths from this preventable disease will rise unless attitudes to women change.
Cervical cancer kills around 72,000 women in India every year, more than 26% of the 275,000 deaths worldwide, says the report by the Cervical Cancer Free Coalition, published Friday.
“Cervical cancer is a taboo issue in many places as it is linked to sexual transmission. Unless women’s groups and civil society join together to lead movements that break through stigma, patriarchy and other societal barriers, we will continue to see large numbers of deaths and high mortality rates,” the U.S.-based group said in a statement.
Cervical cancer, which mostly affects women aged between 18 and 45, is linked to human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can also cause genital warts. A pap smear, or colposcopy, can spot cervical cancer at an early stage, and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines have been developed.