Budding hope for India’s cervical cancer victims

New vaccine and treatment offer hope to the tens of thousands of Indian women who die of cervical cancer each year

Courier-Journal

Kentucky

By Laura Ungar • lungar@courier-journal.com • October 18, 2009

University of Louisville researchers are working to help lessen cervical cancer’s death toll of 74,000 women in India each year.

In 2007, Laura Ungar, The Courier-Journal medical writer, first traveled to India under a fellowship from the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Journalists to report on the problem and its Louisville connection. She’s been back twice, chronicling the progress of the researchers’ work.

KOLKATA, India — First came the blood, then the diagnosis, then the fear.

To Dribehi Mondal and her family in rural India, the pronouncement that she had advanced cervical cancer was a death sentence. Her teenage daughter cried for months, and her husband slept on the ground at the hospital so that he could share what he believed to be his wife’s final days.But a year later, Mondal is alive — with no sign of cancer — after receiving an experimental treatment being tested by researchers at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata and the University of Louisville. The study, recently approved by UofL’s institutional review board for a third year, is showing promising results for dozens of poor Indian women who are participating.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.