Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fight Against Cervical Cancer.......Why Now??

We have been running this campaign for over 6 months now and there have been a few incidences that bring a smile to my face cause of the cynical nature most people have these days…

Several people question us on, why we are running this campaign, what’s the underlying reason that we are not revealing? What’s in it for us?

Shouting it out aloud for all of you, we simply want to generate awareness! That’s what The PRactice wants…

Personally there many selfish reasons in it for me for running this campaign …In India 8 women die every waking hour to Cervical Cancer…as shocking it is, even more shocking is that one of these could be one of my loved ones! Someone from my family, friends, without whom I can’t imagine my life….

So urging you all to join in help us spread the word…!

Contributed by: Sukhmani Bikram, New Delhi

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Will I Be The Next?

Do I have it? Do I need to get it checked? Is it going to be painful? How and whom should I contact? These are few of the questions that have been driving me crazy. Not only me, but there are thousands of such women awaiting answer to these questions, struggling to make a better and a healthy future. In India, every 8 minutes a women dies because of cervical cancer.

According to Indian statistics, Cervical Cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer among women. Lack of awareness, multiple sexual partners and unhygienic living conditions are mainly attributed for the rise of the disease which causes the largest number of deaths among women, approximately 74,000 deaths are reported every year in India. Women in India have a laid back attitude when it comes to regular health check-ups, especially when they are over 35 years, with little or no education.

Every time I feel some pain in my body, in the pelvic or the bladder region, my first thought is – Hope this is not Cancer? Every day thousands of women are losing their lives to Breast Cancer, AIDS and Cervical Cancer; these diseases intrude your body without showing any sign. How can I possibly protect myself from getting these diseases? For a medical condition like Cervical cancer, the best way, is to get a Pap smear screening done. Pap smear screening is probably the single most important preventative measure that a woman can take to prevent the development of cervical cancer. Since its introduction over 50 years ago, the Pap test has been the single, greatest contributor to the decline in cervical cancer.

Every day we spend so much money on ourselves to stay alive, but what are we doing with this chance? When we can spend 1000 Rs for an evening out then why do we sham away when it comes to getting health check-ups done? A mere 400-800 Rs can save our lives. It’s time that we realize the danger of this dreadful disease, don’t be ignorant, learn about it and discuss it with your friends and family. Remember, Cervical Cancer is not a contagious disease; early detection can save your life. So let’s join hands to stop this evil from spreading, let’s FIGHT AGAINST CERVICAL CANCER.

Contributed by: Vandita Sheoran, New Delhi

Sunday, December 20, 2009

“No Promiscuity, No Pap Smear!”

“I have never indulged in promiscuity so I don’t need a pap smear!” This was my friend’s reaction when we got talking on cervical cancer. While I was not really surprised at her response, the realization that even well-educated and modern women still harbour reservations about sex or any diagnostic test that might have a sexual angle to it, was what amazed me for a while. The sad part is that a lot of women are reluctant to get their pap smears done because their minds are clouded with innumerable “what ifs?”- What if they are actually diagnosed with cervical cancer? What if they are thought to be promiscuous by their friends and family? What if their characters are judged?

I was personally not aware of cervical cancer prior to joining FACC. Once I read up on it, the facts and figures on this ‘Big C’ sure did scare me. I wanted to spread awareness about this silent killer that is sweeping 8 Indian women every hour. All one needs to do to protect oneself against this disease is to get a pap smear done. It all sounded simple to me. My conversation with my friend just made me realise that the task ahead is not so simple and easy. The social taboos and the fear of being judged is what makes it complicated. I understood the fact that to fight cervical cancer, we need to fight and break down the taboos that surround our society today. It’s time women pushed out the “what ifs” from their mind and take their lives more seriously. We have only one life and we got to live it free- free from fear, free from cervical cancer!!!

Contributed by: Mayurakshi Barua, New Delhi

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let’s Make Our Suffering a Thing of the Past

‘Prevention is better than cure.’ How many times have we heard this saying? I guess many times, but how many times have we actually practiced it?

Even when it comes to our own health, we have nothing but just an excuse.

Why are we so callous about our own health? We know the numbers are a telling reminder of how bad things are. Sample this again: 8 women are dying in India because of cervical cancer every hour making it the most dreaded malaise for women. What have we done about it? Nothing, absolutely nothing!

Life goes on and so do we not thinking about the consequences of ignorance.

Can’t go on like this can we? Time we opened our eyes and acknowledged the danger lurking within.


Thanks to technology and research, we now have an option to get rid of cervical cancer. Just a single vaccination shot, can make a big difference in our lives.

For those who consider smoking to be cool and a great stress buster remember this—the only cause for the spread of cervical cancer is excessive smoking, multiple sexual partners and an unhygienic lifestyle.

Let’s not put our lives at stake anymore. This January, which is cervical cancer month, let’s all come together and kill this disease at its root.

As Pink Floyd immortalized in its famous song Time—Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day / You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way / Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town / Waiting for someone or something to show you the way—IT IS TIME we took control of our life ourselves!

Post Contributed by Vandita Sheoran, New Delhi

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A life to live

I came into office today and a colleague of mine told me about a friend she had lost to cervical cancer yesterday....and the questions that we have been trying to answer for the last 6 months started to buzz around over and over again....

Why do we live in denial? When statistics indicate otherwise......when 1 in 8 women lose their lives to this cancer every waking hour in India...To protect ourselves all we need to do is visit a Gynaecologist and insist on a pap smear....

Europe and The United States have a witnessed a 19% fall in the number of deaths from cervical cancer between 1990-1994 and 2000-2004. This decline is primarily because of cervical cancer screening programmes...

We have all been gifted with a life; let’s not take it for granted-WE URGE YOU TO GET A PAP SMEAR TODAY.

Sukhmani Bikram

Friday, November 27, 2009

Come Together To Fight Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer amongst women in India. The growing risk of this disease in the country is 2.4% compared to 1.3% of the world. Every hour, 10 women in South-East Asia lose their lives to this silent killer; of which 8 are Indians. The astounding fact is that 60% of women in the country have not even heard about cervical cancer! As a result, only a mere 5-6% take the diagnostic test for cervical cancer called Pap Smear. Given that Cervical Cancer is a disease where early detection is the key to survival, these figures sure ring an alarm bell.

The main underlying cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted and largely symptom less infection. A number of factors like early sexual advent and multiple sex partners increase the risk of cervical cancer by increasing the likelihood that a woman will contract an HPV infection. Several other factors influence whether women with abnormal cervical-cell changes go on to develop cancer. These include tobacco use, prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives, unhygienic living conditions and an impaired immune system.

Since 80% of the Indian population resides in the rural areas, women who fall in the economically backward strata are much more vulnerable to cervical cancer than their urban counterparts. Poor living conditions and low standards of health and hygiene in these areas expose these women to higher risks of this silent killer. Illiteracy, limited access to the television and internet has caused this particular section of women to be in the shadows about cervical cancer. Also, traditional taboos are a major reason for reluctance among rural women to seek medical assistance in gynecological matters. These reasons make it imperative that special attention be given to women in the rural areas.

This of course does not mean that the Indian urban woman is dwelling in conditions which bear a stronger protective shield from cervical cancer. Despite the technological and scientific advancements, the Indian society still remains greatly ignorant to a number of issues that call for immediate action. Sedentary lifestyles, increasing levels of alcohol and tobacco use by women and promiscuity are causes that are augmenting the number of cervical cancer cases in India.

The first mass screening programme for cervical cancer that is scheduled to begin in January in Bengal will hopefully generate the much needed awareness about this disease in the state. However, much more needs to be done to break through the ignorance that has blurred India against the impact of this silent killer. This is only possible when women as a whole come together to spread the word about the causes and the devastating effects of cervical cancer.

Post Contributor: Mayurakshi Barua, Delhi

Monday, July 13, 2009

As simple as a Pap Smear

I am 26, single, independent and well informed about the world around me. About 5 years ago I finished my post graduation and entered into the corporate world, a journey I was eager to tread. The beginning of this journey was slightly faltering, as I was trying to discover myself and a profession that would define me. Today, fortunately I have a profession that defines me and I have been blessed to work on projects that I totally believe in and support.

Fight Against Cervical Cancer is one such project, talking about which takes me back to the time where were discussing causes that we wanted to be associated with and when cervical cancer was thrown on the table majority of us thought it was the cancer of the neck……the project certainly has come a long way since then!….To begin with I know its not the cancer of the neck, it’s the cancer of the cervix uteri or cervical area; kills eight Indian women every waking hour…..sadly India leads this dark race of death.

Human nature is certainly strange, I knew how deadly this disease was and how ignorance was killing close to 75,000 Indian women but I somehow felt I couldn’t be susceptible to it. Could I be? I was sexually active, I have had multiple partners and I smoke. My lifestyle was certainly pointing in that direction but somehow I didn’t want to accept it.

Fortunately my work required me to constantly read about cervical cancer and the knowledge empowered me to visit a gynaecologist and overcome my paranoia about doctors and hospitals.

While sitting at the gynaecologist and waiting to be called the anxiety gave me goose bumps. The doctor soon called me in and asked me undress and covered me with a sheet. She inserted a lubricated speculum (is a small medical tool for investigating body cavities) into the vagina and using a small mascara-like brush, took sample cells from the cervix. She then placed it in a tube and sent to the lab for testing. I experienced uneasiness; there is however no pain involved – It was easy & quick.

At the end of it I didn’t have abnormal results - I knew I was safe. I did heave a sigh of relief but on my things to do I do have the gynaecologist visit. I have come to believe prevention is better than cure. So be smart, visit your gynaecologist and insist on a pap smear.

Contributor: Yein, Age: 26, New Delhi

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pap Smear=Cervical cancer free life

Clock work and health check ups could be synonyms in the western world especially for women but not so in India and I often wonder why? Is it because we feel we are immortal or do we just not care enough about our health?

While my graduation, I was placed in US and it was during this phase that I realized the importance of routine medical check-ups. Annual health check ups were encouraged and a pap smear was a must. I spent about 10 years and each year there was a medical check up, there was no escape from this routine…

I still recall my first pap smear; I was a bit anxious of the procedure. My physician detailed out the Pap smear procedure and the importance of it. It was a simple test to check my cervical cells under the microscope for any changes. The Pap test can tell if you have an infection, abnormal (unhealthy) cells, or cancer. There was no pain involved whatsoever in the procedure and five minutes is it all it took.

When I returned to India it was a like a new country….every where I looked, there was something new….malls, flyovers, etc etc.

A year into settling back, I went for my annual medical check up and it was here that I saw the India I had grown up in. I walked in to the gynaecologist’s and told her I was here for a routine annual check up. She looked a bit surprised and she asked me a few questions and said ok you are fine; I was taken aback! I demanded a pap smear and the procedure was no different just that I had to be aggressive to get one.

I came back very distressed and checked with my friends if they had faced a similar situation. Most of them said no, as they had never visited one. It was during these conversations I discovered that in India regular health check ups are not a practice and gynaecologist visits are not considered important. I was told most women only consult OB-GYN when they contracted infections or incase they are were planning a family.

In India, healthcare is a matter of concern. India accounts for a shocking one in eight cervical cancer deaths in the world, there is little or no awareness about the disease.

We owe it to ourselves to live healthy, so please visit a gynaecologist and insist on a pap smear!

Post contributor: Abhijit Kaur, New Delhi