Red alert

Red alert
Scientists punch holes in a menstrual pad to begin their analysisImage copyrightDr Atul Budukh/TMC Hospital
Image caption For the study, health workers collected cloth pads used during menstruation, from villagers

Menstruation is considered a taboo to even speak about in India, so imagine the reaction to the idea of collecting women’s used menstrual pads.

But that is exactly what health workers did in villages in the West Indian state of Maharashtra – in order to diagnose the possibility of cervical cancer.

More than a quarter of the world’s cervical cancer patients are from India.

Yet there are many reasons why women don’t go for cervical screening – a lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities in rural areas as well as burdening costs, coupled with unease at undergoing the invasive examination.

“Rural women are shy, fear the test and consider it unnecessary,” said researchers writing in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention.

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