[Photo Source: Screenshot via YouTube]
Women take care of their loved ones—making sure their husbands have eaten, calling to check in on their children, or watching for the health of their elders—but do they take care of themselves? That is the central question being asked in a new public service announcement from Cervical Cancer Awareness, encouraging women in India to get tested for this life-threatening disease.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide, and the second most common in India after breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Registry, nearly 93,000 cases of cervical cancer were reported in India in 2013. These figures are projected to reach more than one million by 2020.
The newly released PSA depicts a busy mother cooking for her family and taking care of her household, while she checks in on the wellbeing of her husband at work, her daughter at school, and her mother at home.
“You have numerous questions for the wellbeing of your loved ones,” a female relative says to the mother. “But how about asking a vital question that ensures your own wellbeing too?”
This prompts the mother to sit down with her doctor and ask: What is cervical cancer and should I get tested?
The doctor informs the mother that getting tested is the only way to determine a patient’s risk for cervical cancer—and according to the video, this test is recommended for all women over the age of 30. With timely treatment, cervical cancer can be prevented, the doctor tells the concerned mother.
Studies indicate that the human papilloma virus—better known as HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that is linked to genital warts but can also show no symptoms—is tied to the development of cervical cancer. The Health Ministry reportedly wants to introduce the HPV vaccine to India’s universal immunization program, and has received $500 million dollars in aid to help bring this vaccine, as well as others, to India as soon as possible.
According to research published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, “other epidemiological risk factors are an early age at marriage, multiple sexual partners, multiple pregnancies, poor genital hygiene, malnutrition, use of oral contraceptives, and lack of awareness.”
Though the PSA deals with a form of cancer that is only diagnosed in females, it recognizes that cervical cancer impacts everyone, concluding that their message is “issued in the interest of all women and their loved ones.”