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Objective: In India, cervical cancer accounts for almost 14% of all female cancer cases. Although poverty continues to cast a wide net over the Indian subcontinent, the preceding three decades have borne witness to improvements in nutrition and sanitation for many citizens. However, due to an absence of a national immunization program to cover human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and lack of accessible cervical cancer screening, the disease is characterized by late detection, lack of access to affordable and quality health care, and high mortality rates. Treatment of cervical cancer is stage-specific and depends on the patient's age, desire to preserve fertility, overall health, the clinician's expertise, and accessibility to resources. There is a paucity of uniform treatment protocols for various stages of cervical cancer in India. Considering all these parameters, a need to optimize treatment paradigms for the Indian population emerged. Methods/materials: Three expert panel meetings were held in different regions of India from 2016 to 2017. They were comprised of 15 experts from across the country, and included surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists. The panel members reviewed the literature from both national and global sources, discussed their clinical experience and local practices and evaluated current therapeutic options and management gaps for women diagnosed with cervical cancer. Result(s): This article summarizes the expert opinion from these meetings. It discusses the available resources and highlights the current therapeutic options available for different cervical cancer stages: early stage disease, locally advanced tumors, recurrent/persistent/metastatic cancer. An Indian consensus governing treatment options emerged, including guidelines for use of the only approved targeted therapy in this disease, the anti-angiogenesis drug, bevacizumab. Conclusion(s): The panel concluded that given the availability of state-of-the-art imaging modalities, surgical devices, radiotherapeutics, and novel agents in several population-dense urban centers, a uniform, multi-disciplinary treatment approach across patient care centers is ideal but not realistic due to cost and a paucity of third party payors for most Indian citizens. Preventative strategies including visual inspection with acetic acid to screen for precursor lesions (i.e., cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) with immediate referral for cervical cryotherapy and possible large-scale roll-out of the HPV vaccine in the near future can be expected to reduce mortality rates significantly in this country.Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).
Tewari, K. S., Agarwal, A., Pathak, A., Ramesh, A., Parikh, B., Singhal, M., … Kukreja, A. (2018). Meeting report, “First Indian national conference on cervical cancer management - expert recommendations and identification of barriers to implementation.” Gynecologic Oncology Research and Practice, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40661-018-0061-5