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BAC ASM Speaker Profiles - Professor Mina Desai

Professor Mina Desai CBE will present on What future for cervical cancer prevention in resource strapped countries  - my experience in India


Professor Mina Desai

Lecture Title

What future for cervical cancer prevention in resource strapped countries  - my experience in India

Lecture Overview

In November 2020, WHO launched its Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer. It outlines three key steps: vaccination, screening and treatment. It set a 90%, 70%, 90% target for each step, to be achieved by 2030. Successful implementation of all three could reduce new cases of cervical cancer by more than 40% and 5 million related deaths by 2050.

However WHO stresses that a cervical cancer free future is hopeful thinking. Critical developments in achieving this goal include the availability of prophylactic vaccines; low-cost approaches to screening and treating cervical cancer precursors; and novel approaches to surgical training.

For screening, WHO recommend the use a HPV DNA based test as the preferred method rather than visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) or cytology.

Since 2016, I have been actively involved in raising cervical cancer prevention and screening awareness in urban and rural areas of Gujarat state in India, in conjunction with the Community Oncology Centre of Gujarat Cancer Society, Health & Care Foundation Trust Charitable Hospital and the Indian Red Cross Society.

In this lecture I will share a personal perspective of current cervical cancer prevention in these non-affluent rural areas, and discuss what will be required to meet the WHO target by 2030. The help of the laboratory scientific community in UK may be required to achieve this!


Professor Minaxi Desai was an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, UK and a visiting Professor at the School of Healthcare Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University.

Prof. Desai graduated with MBBS at the University of Gujarat, India in 1974 and became a member of the Royal College of Pathologists of UK by examination in 1983 and a Fellow in 1997. Prof. Desai has been working in cytopathology subspecialty in UK since 1990 and has held several prestigious posts nationally and internationally as follow:

  • Consultant cytopathologist at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust (Manchester Royal Infirmary), UK. 
  • Clinical Director of the Manchester Cytology Centre, UK. This centre was the largest cytology centre in UK with a workload of 250,000 cervical smears per year and had implemented both SurePath and ThinPrep LBC systems.
  • Director of the North West cytology Training Centre, UK.
  • Chief Editor of the Cytopathology Journal and member of the Editorial Boards of four national and international journals
  • Chief examiner of the European Cytology Examination (QUATE-European Quality Assessment Training and Examination).
  • Chairperson,President and Executive member of the British Society for Clinical Cytology and British Association for Cytopathology
  • Member of working parties and advisory committees of the British Society for Clinical Cytology, Royal College of Pathologists and the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme (NHSCSP).
  • Cytology Speciality Advisor, Clinical Pathology Accreditation-CPA (UK)
  • Council Member of the European Federation of Cytology
  •  Secretary of the organising committee of the International Conference in Cytology  (IAC) in 2010.
  • Chair of the Scientific committee of the European Congress of Cytology in 2016
  • Co-author and editorial group member of evidece- based revised guidelines on Colposcopy and Programme Management in Cervical Screening in UK. (NHSCSP document No.20, May 2010) , NHSCSP Good Practice Guide No.3 - July 2010 - HPV Triage and Test of Cure Implementation Guide and the third edition of Achievable Standards, Benchmarks for reporting, and Criteria for evaluating cervical cytopathology' (ABC3).
  • On the research and the acedemic front,.Prof. Desai was a lead investigator of nationally-funded studies of emerging technologies in cervical screening, notably an automation (MAVARIC) study and Human Papillomavirus testing (ARTISTIC and Sentinel site) studies, HPV Vaccine Implementation studies and Adequacy Trial. The results of these studies have helped in policy decisions  by the National Advisory Committee on cervical screening in UK; She has published many articles on these subjects and has also conributed to book chapters in cytopathology books on these subjects.
  • Member of the  Royal College of Pathologists' Cytopathology Advisory Committee  She has contributed to various guidelines and Tissue Pathways.
  • Internationally, she has acted as an advocate for the UK cervical cancer screening programme at various European and International meetings as an invited lecturer. She has given the inaugural lecture of the West African Cytology Society and educational workshops in places as diverse as Australia, East and West Africa, India, Portugal, Holland, Greece, Turkey Croatia., Norway, Sweden, Denmark, switzerland, America, Japan and kuwait. In 2012 she trained the whole cytology non-medical workforce of Malta in Liquid Based Cytology.
  • Dr Desai has been elected as a Trustee of the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Board member of Healthwatch Manchester and Being there charity which gives support to people with life limiting illness e.g. cancer
  • In her retirement, Dr. Desai spends winter months in India where she gets invited by various medical colleges across the country to give lectures and run workshops on new methods in cervical cancer screening  
  • In India, she is also actively involved in raising cancer and screening awareness in the urban and rural areas of Gujarat in liaison with the Community Oncology Centre of Gujarat Cancer Society and with the Health & Care Foundation in association with Gujarat Red cross society. 
  • Recently she has been elected as Lead Answer Cancer Champion for Greater Manchester in July 2020 for raising cancer awareness in BAME communities across Greater Manchester and recruiting Cancer Champions. This work has been recognised and acknowledged by the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester Dr. Eamonn O’Neal.
  • Dr. Desai is on the Clinical Advisory Panel network and a core member of the Clinical Advisory Panel of Cancer Research UK since July 2021.

Professor Desai has received following special awards for her contribution to women’s health, especially, for the cervical cancer prevention work.

  • Commander of the British Empire (CBE) title by Queen of UK in the new years honors list in 2011 for services to women's health. 
  • National clinical excellence silver award for the services to NHS
  • Prestigious Erica Wachtel award from the British Association for Cytopathology in 2012 for the leadership in cytopathology in UK and abroad.
  • Selected as aTorch bearer for the London 2012 Olympics due to her contribution in raising awareness of cervical screening in ethnic minority women in UK and in the developing world.

Book today for the BAC ASM 2021