Mobile Screening Unit (MSU) for the Implementation of the ‘Screen and Treat’ Programme for Cervical Cancer Prevention In Pune, India

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Prayas, Amrita Clinic, Athawale Corner, Karve Road, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411 004, India.

2 Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, Lyon, France.

3 Research Triangle Institute, International- India, Commercial Tower, Pullman Hotel Aerocity, New Delhi, India.


Objectives: We are reporting the evaluation of an opportunistic point of care cervical cancer screening initiative in Pune, India using a mobile screening unit (MSU). Methods: We conducted 290 cervical cancer screening outreach clinics in the MSU. Screening was performed by trained nurses/ health care providers using visual inspection with 5% acetic acid (VIA). Screen positive women when eligible were treated by thermal ablation during the same sitting. Women with large lesions not eligible for treatment with thermal ablation were referred for colposcopy and treatment. Results: A total of 10, 925 women were screened between Nov 2016 and June 2019 in 290 outreach clinics in the MSU. The overall screen positivity was 6.6% (95% CI 6.1, 7.0) with a declining trend over time. A total of 304/717 (42.4%, 95% CI 38.7, 46.1) women received treatment with thermal ablation. About 3.6% (11/304) reported minor side effects and 1.6% (5/304) reported lower abdominal pain and all of them subsided after treatment.  Among the 413 women who were advised colposcopy, only 84 (20.33%) women underwent the procedure. Of these 84 women, 64 (76.19%) had normal colposcopy/ histopathology, 7 (8.33%) had CIN1, 2 (2.38%) had CIN 2, 9 (10.71%) had CIN 3 disease and 2 (2.38%) women were diagnosed with invasive cancer. Conclusion: MSUs are useful for providing cervical cancer screening services, using the ‘screen and treat’ strategy.  Thermal ablation is safe in the field clinics. Additional efforts are needed to improve the compliance for referral of those with large lesions requiring additional visits.


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