Roche Diagnostics India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cancer Awareness Prevention and Early Detection Trust (CAPED), towards tackling cervical cancer in the country.

The second most common cancer in Indian women, cervical cancer is preventable. And yet, it accounts for nearly 77,000 deaths among women, annually, a Roche Diagnostics note said. The diagnostic major said its partnership with CAPED was to address social stigma and increase awareness on cervical cancer screening.

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As part of the partnership, CAPED will look to conduct about 100 awareness workshops in companies across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. These interactions would seek to educate and encourage women employees to understand the benefits of HPV DNA screening, recommend screening frequency, etc.

“Cervical cancer is preventable in up to 93 per cent of cases and yet, India contributes to 21 per cent of the world’s total cases of cervical cancer. At CAPED, I have first-hand experience of the situation on the ground. There is a huge gap in awareness among the masses about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus. Added to this is the perceived societal stigma associated with the disease and sexual behaviour, which acts as a deterrent for women to get screened,” said Mridu Gupta, Chief Executive with CAPED.

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Narendra Varde, Roche Diagnostics Managing Director (India and Neighboring Markets) said, of their “Be Your Own Shero” campaign, that it was aimed at encouraging women to take charge of their lives. “Last year, we took a small step by offering free HPV DNA screening for all our women employees and the women family members of male employees; Around 82 per cent of the eligible employees opted for screening. We are expanding our efforts this year by joining forces with equally passionate organizations to further the cause.”

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