According to data from Mumbai Cancer Registry analysed by doctors at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel, the incidence of cervical cancer in the city is on the decline. The incidence of cervical cancer in Mumbai has dropped from 19 per 1,00,000 people in 1988 to 10.2 in 2009.
Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the uterus, and is classified by doctors as most preventable of all cancers as it can be easily detected in pre-cancerous stages.
At present there are six cancer registries in the country under the national cancer registry program of the Indian Council of Medical Research. These centres record new cases of different types of cancer from various sources. Epidemiologists at TMH analysed the data from these registries, which show a lowered incidence of cervical cancer in urban cities including Banglore, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.
Early marriage, greater number of child births and the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV) are major reasons for cervical cancer. Experts say that 80% of cervical cancers are a result of HPV.
"Owing to awareness about the condition and changing family norms, the incidence is on a decline in urban areas," said Dr Rajesh Dikshit from Tata Memorial Hospital's epidemiology department. Another reason for the decline in incidence, doctors added, is the increased screening for cervical cancer.
"We conduct PAP smear tests for our patients to detect cervical cancer. It is easy to detect as the cervix can be examined for pre-cancerous lesions which cannot be done for cancers of the uterus or the ovaries," said Dr Duru Shah, gynaecologist, who runs a clinic in Peddar road.
However the rural registry indicates no change in the incidence of the disease.