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Editorial of the Day (16th Jan): A Jab in Time

Context: The article titled “A jab in time” emphasises the importance of a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer prevention and treatment.

About Cervical Cancer

  • It is the second-most common cancer among women in India, with over 1 lakh new cases and 77,000 deaths in 2022.
  • Globally, it contributes to one-fifth of the total burden.
  • Cause: Primarily caused by persistent high-risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, with co-factors like low socioeconomic status and immunity.
  • Detection: Precancerous and cancerous stages can be identified through screening tests like HPV tests and visual assessments.
  • Treatment: Precancerous lesions can be treated effectively with simple outpatient procedures.
  • Prevention: HPV vaccination in girls aged 9-14 is highly effective in preventing infection and future cancer development.

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  • High burden: India accounts for 20% of global cervical cancer cases and deaths.
  • Prevention and curability: Early detection and intervention can significantly improve outcomes, with a 93% cure rate for early-stage cases.
  • Sustainable Development Goal: Eliminating cervical cancer contributes to reducing premature deaths by 2030 (SDG 3.4).

Key interventions

  • HPV vaccination:
    • Recommended for girls aged 9-14.
    • Prevents infection with high-risk HPV types.
    • Most effective before sexual debut.
  • Screening:
    • Regular Pap smears or HPV tests recommended for women aged 30-45.
    • Detects precancerous changes before they become cancerous.
    • Simple and easily available.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment:
    • Effective treatment options exist for pre-cancerous and early-stage cancer.
    • Palliative care available for advanced stages.


  • Awareness: There is a significant lack of awareness about cervical cancer, which results in late detection and treatment.
  • Vaccination: The percentage of fully vaccinated 15-year-old girls against HPV is currently low.
  • Treatment Access: Access to treatment for women with cervical pre-cancer and cancer is not adequate to meet the 2030 mortality reduction target.
  • Healthcare Burden: There is an anticipated increase in demand for cancer care treatments by about 20% in the next decade.
  • Diagnostics: The diagnostics confirmation step in the patient journey from “screen-positive” to “treatment” is underutilised, leading to delayed or missed treatment opportunities.
  • Policy Implementation: The need for robust policy frameworks and public-private partnerships to strengthen the health system has been identified as a challenge.
  • Technology Use: There is a gap in testing and implementing artificial intelligence technologies for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Comprehensive Care: The integration of prevention, treatment, and palliative care services is still not fully realised, which is necessary for a holistic approach to managing cervical cancer.

Moving Forward

  • Strengthening awareness campaigns: Educating communities about cervical cancer, its causes, prevention, and treatment options.
  • Scaling up vaccination programs: Ensuring high coverage and access to HPV vaccines for eligible girls.
  • Improving screening services: Expanding access to accurate and affordable screening tests.
  • Building capacity for treatment: Training healthcare providers and equipping facilities for pre-cancer and cancer treatment.
  • Enhancing partnerships: Collaboration between government, NGOs, healthcare professionals, and researchers is vital for effective implementation.

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About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!

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