According to a study of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), about 11,956 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the country every year and over 6,582 dies of the disease.

Aiming to create awareness among mothers about cervical cancer, a month-long programme was started in the country this morning with the theme "Big NO to Early Marriage".

As part of the programme, a rally titled 'March for Mother', led by Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr Kamrul Hasan Khan and Governor of Rotary Club International District (3281) FH Arif, was held at the premises of BSMMU and ended at Farmgate Police Box in the capital.

A total of eight organisations, including Cancer Pratirodh Gobeshona Kendra, Gyne Oncology Society of Bangladesh, YWCA, Oporajita (Society for Survivor), Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh, Community Oncology Foundation of Bangladesh, The Blue Sky Charitable Foundation and Cancer Awareness Foundation of Bangladesh jointly arranged the rally with support from Rotary Club International District (3281).

Habibullah Talukder Raskin, an associate professor of National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital and also the convener of the rally, said the majority of cervical cancer cases occur in mid-age rather than old-age and it is one of the most common cancers in women under 35.

"Preventative cervical screening programmes can avoid cervical cancer deaths and provide a means of early detection. When the disease is detected early, it is highly treatable and is often associated with long survival and good quality of life outcomes," he added.

Experts said now the patients, who are suffering from cervical cancer, would get treatment at an affordable price at city hospitals, including National Institute of Cancer Research & Hospital, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital, United Hospital and Delta Medical College & Hospital.

Poet and lawmaker Kazi Rosy, who has survived cancer for 22 years, said families and society, should extend supports to increase the "mental strength" of the cancer-affected persons.