Fragile Bone & Cervical Cancer disempowering Indian Women, Gynecologists red flag

New Delhi: Women empowerment may be flavor of the time in India but it hardly adds up when it comes to their bone health and protection against cervical cancer. As euphoria around International Women’s Day escalated, gynecologists took it a few notches down by pointing out these teething troubles in women’s paradise. As this country hops onto the bandwagon of ‘Viksit Bharat’, they expressed hope that there would be systems in place in India like in developed nations to protect women from health conditions that might insidiously be eating into their vitals.

In a round table organized by Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital around International Women’s Day 2024, gynecologists came in force from its subsidiary maternity hospital Rose walk to bat for women in India on twin parameters of cervical cancer and poor bone health which they said are disempowering them.

Dr Meenakshi Banerjee , Dr Payal Choudhary, Dr Jayasree Sundar, Dr C S Mythreyi and  Dr Rinku Sen Gupta gave a detailed lowdown on how cervical cancer and osteoporosis are hitting women hard in India. All of them demanded in unison that cervical cancer must be eradicated through vaccination of 90 percent of women. They expressed dismay at escalating incidences of cervical cancer and in turn deaths from it and stressed upon the need to take measures forthwith to stem the catastrophe. They underlined the fact that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent cervical cancer. According them, HPB ( Human Papillomavirus) vaccines are very effective. Vaccination between 9 and 14years of age results in near guarantee of protection but it is not so in case of vaccination after this age bracket. In delayed vaccination, screening from time to time is must.

Citing example of Australia, they said eradication through vaccination is the only surefire way to save women from this only preventable cancer. They pointed out an important fact that an HPB infection takes 20 years to grow into cancer.  They bemoaned the fact that due to absence of system in place about 25 percent of women inflicted with cervical cancer meet death in India. According to them, in developed world screening of cervical cancer through papsmear above 25 years of age is a must but in India there is no culture of screening or vaccination for cervical cancer.

Bone Health was another area where they expressed their deepest concern. Osteoporosis in which bones become brittle and fragile is assuming epidemic proportions among women of India. Osteoporosis is a condition that normally follows menopause but that even young women in their twenties in India are being affected by this crippling condition is a very disturbing trend. Vulnerability of young bones has been traced to low vitamin D and low dietary calcium intake. The increasing trend of early menopause is also causing early onset of Osteoporosis. They pointed out that there is no culture of test by bone densitometer in India by which bone strength is measured. Women in India are caught unawares by this crippling insidious bone condition. Needless to say bone is bottom line of any empowerment of human being.

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