Ministry changes standard for cervical cancer examination to HPV DNA
Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – The Indonesian Health Ministry has changed the standard for cervical cancer examination, which originally used the Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) test with the HPV DNA method.
“Starting this year, we are using HPV DNA as a standard for cervical cancer examination,” Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated at a press conference on Tuesday.
He noted that cervical cancer is the second most common cause of death in women after breast cancer.
Data from Globocan also recorded that the total number of cancer cases in Indonesia in 2020 had reached 396,914, with a total of 234,511 deaths. Of this figure, cervical cancer was found in 36,633 cases, or 9.2 percent of the total existing cancer cases.
Hence, the minister believes that faster intervention is needed to immediately carry out treatment based on diagnosis, including changing the testing standards to accelerate the detection of stages of cervical cancer.
According to Sadikin, detection via HPV DNA is considered quicker than Visual Inspection of Acetic Acid (IVA), as the government will utilize thousands of PCR laboratories that have been built during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moreover, the ministry has included the HPV vaccine in the child immunization program which is given to girls in grade 5, or aged 11 years, as a form of early prevention from cervical cancer.
Sadikin stated that improvement in health services for cancer patients also applies to other types of cancer, such as breast, lung, and colon cancer.
“I have learned that cancer is a very complicated disease. We also need to detect how bad the impact of cancer is, and we need to carry out the entire series of anatomical pathology as fully as possible,” he remarked.
Regarding breast cancer treatment, Sadikin stated that his side uses ultrasound to obtain clear images of tissues in women’s breasts.
He remarked that cancer can occur due to three factors: an undetectable virus entering the body; the environment, either through radiation or pollution; and heredity.
“The first thing to be done is prevention. (It is) because prevention is cheaper and can increase the quality of life. We must detect cancer as early as possible,” he stated.