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Cervical cancer screening trials in India spark controversy

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3038 (Published 01 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3038
  1. Sanjeet Bagcchi
  1. 1 Kolkata

A report on three clinical trials of screening for cervical cancer in India has provoked controversy, as it showed that 254 women in the unscreened groups had died of the disease. The report, published on 17 April in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, sparked accusations that the trials were not ethical.1

The report said that three separate randomised clinical trials of cervical screening had been conducted on Indian women since 1998 in Mumbai, Osmanabad, and Tamil Nadu, with funding from the US National Cancer Institute and from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The trials compared rates of death from cervical cancer in women who were screened for the disease with rates in those who were not. In the trials 224 929 women were offered screening, …

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