‘94% women do not go for cancer screening’

Survey studies health trends among women; doctors concerned over low awareness

March 09, 2017 01:01 am | Updated 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

As many as 94% women in the Capital agree that health is a priority, but, shockingly, they do not undergo preventive cervical and breast cancer screenings, said a survey conducted in Delhi recently.

‘No exaggeration’

“This figure doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. Awareness about preventive cancer check-up is dismayingly low, even in Delhi,” says Dr. Shyam Aggarwal, chairman of the Oncology Department, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“After 40, all women should get a cancer screening done at least once a year. Though better treatment facilities have ensured lower death rates, breast and cervical cancers are the major causes of morbidity and premature mortality among women, second only to heart diseases. Awareness and timely screening are vital,” said Dr. Aggarwal.

1,909 women surveyed

The survey, which included 1,909 users of preventive check-up, was conducted by healthi — a digital preventive health start-up founded by Krishna Ulagaratchagan and RekuramVaradharaj, alumni of global MBA programmes at Stanford and INSEAD, respectively.

Rekuram Varadharaj said: “A worrying aspect of the survey was the blind spot in cancer detection and prevention among women. In Delhi, about 94% women between 21 and 57 years do not undergo preventive cervical and breast cancer screening.

This, when a majority of women who were interviewed said health was priority and had taken, or shortly intended to take, steps to improve their health. As many as 94% women in the age group of 21-57 years said they went for general health check-ups, which is an encouraging number.

Vitamin deficiencies

The survey also said that 96% women in the Capital were deficient in Vitamin D while 28% lacked Vitamin B12.

Interestingly, a recent survey conducted under the National Family Health Survey-4 highlighted the growing incidence of anaemia in India. The survey conducted by healthi seconded this trend, with about 20% women in Delhi suffering from the condition.

The statistics also highlighted the need for women to turn to dietary supplements such as iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid. The survey also suggested that thyroid issues were a common concern among women in the Capital. As many as 10% of the women surveyed reported abnormal Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels, which regulate thyroid function.

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