India's budget announcement on cervical cancer vaccine applauded

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Washington: An eminent Indian-American radiation oncologist on Wednesday applauded India's budget announcement for vaccination of girls between nine and 14 against cervical cancer.


"The budget's emphasis on preventive programs for cervical cancer is a commendable step towards addressing a critical public health issue in India. The initiative to vaccinate girls aged 9-14 against cervical cancer is particularly praiseworthy, as this disease claims the lives of over 150 women daily in the country," Dr Dattatreyudu Nori told PTI.

A recipient of Padma Shri in 2015 for his contributions in the field of medicine, Dr Nori said cervical cancer ranks as the second most common cancer among women in India, with more than 85,000 new cases diagnosed annually and approximately 50,000 deaths reported each year.

The incidence of cancer cases is projected to rise from 1.46 million in 2022 to 1.57 million in 2025. This increase is attributed to advancements in cancer diagnostics, improved data capture, and ongoing epidemiological transitions.


"Furthermore, cancer patterns in India highlight the need for strategic, well-planned preventive measures, including health education, cancer awareness, screening, early detection, and risk reduction programs, to mitigate the growing cancer burden,” he said in response to a question.

Dr Nori said as an internationally acclaimed oncologist with significant leadership roles in prestigious institutions such as the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Cornell University, he has dedicated his career to advancing the field of oncology.

"My experience has led me to support various initiatives in India aimed at establishing comprehensive cancer centers, recognizing the urgent need for accelerated efforts in cancer screening, early detection, and access to affordable and advanced cancer care," he said, adding that the establishment of the National Cancer Institute of India in 2018 marked a significant milestone in fight against cancer.

"However, much remains to be done. It is crucial that cancer screening and early detection programs are expanded and that cancer care is made more accessible to the population. Additionally, I advocate for the identification of cancer as a notifiable disease across all states in India to improve data collection and for the establishment of a Cancer Command and Control Center to coordinate cancer care nationwide," Dr Nori said.

"These measures, if implemented under the umbrella of Ayushman Bharat, have the potential to significantly reduce the incidence rates of cancer in India. Early detection can save lives, preserve families, and protect financial stability. As both a medical expert and a humanitarian, I am committed to seeing these changes implemented for the betterment of public health in India," said the Indian-American doctor.