Cervical Cancer Screening Behind Bars: A Woman’s Right QC09-QC11
Dr. Anshuja Singla,
849, Pocket D, Dilshad Garden, Delhi, India.
Introduction: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women across the globe. Women prisoners are a vulnerable population, so timely provision of screening programs is of utmost importance in this population.
Aim: To screen female prisoners for cervical cancer using visual inspection with acetic acid method.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted on women inmates in one of the largest prisons of North India. A total of 181 women prisoners aged 18 and older were interviewed using a questionnaire. After an informed consent, women were screened using Visual Inspection with Acetic acid (VIA).
Results: Majority of the women (74.03%) were between 21 to 40 years. Ninety-one women (50.2%) were illiterate. Majority of the women (123) had between 1 and 3 pregnancies. Majority (43) used condoms as a birth control method. Thirty-eight women (20.9%) had multiple partners. Among 181 women who were screened for cervical cancer, 22.6% were VIA positive.
Conclusion: Women prisoners are at a high risk of cervical cancer because of increased prevalence of risk factors in them. Screening and intervention programs must be in place to ensure organisation of health services within the prison environment so that screening, diagnosis and treatment for cervical carcinoma can be provided at early stages with improved prognosis.