In a statement issued on Monday, she said that this is one of the very few cancers that can be prevented if women get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix and is mostly caused by different types of HPV. These types of viruses are considered to cause the cervical cells to grow uncontrollably and develop into cancerous cells. Commenting on the situation in Pakistan, Dr Tabinda said that Pakistan has a population of 68.6 million women aged 15 and above who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. The morbidity and mortality rates for cervical cancer are very high in Pakistan as this type of cancer is ignored in terms of screening, prevention and vaccination, resulting in patients’ reporting at very advanced stages of malignancy. Prevention of cervical cancer involves vaccination of young girls while secondary prevention includes cervical screening tests. Dr Tabinda said that girls above the age of 12 should get vaccinated against HPV and protects them from this disease. For older women, regular screening is the best way to identify abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage. According to Dr Tabinda, women should not lose hope if diagnosed with cervical cancer. She said that cervical cancer is treatable and curable if diagnosed at an early stage when treatment involves surgery and in later stages chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Awareness on the subject is very important and we need to spread the message amongst women about the importance of HPV vaccination, regular screenings, and the need to make treatment accessible to all patients if we hope to achieve the goal of eliminating cervical cancer in Pakistan.