Let’s eliminate cervical cancer – WHO
As the World Cancer Day 2019 is commemorated globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed the need for countries to focus on eliminating one of the greatest threats to women’s health – Cervical cancer.
According to the organization, one woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer every minute while the disease also kills more than 300 000 women each year.
Below is the organization’s World Cancer Day message on Cervical Cancer:
“Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.
“We must ensure that all girls are vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) and that every woman over 30 is screened and treated for pre-cancerous lesions.
“Now is the time to get vaccinated. Now is the time to get screened and treated if necessary. Now is the time to eliminate cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer is one of the greatest threats to women’s health. Each death is a tragedy, and we can prevent it. Most of these women are not diagnosed early enough, and lack access to life-saving treatment. Studies have shown that prevention and early treatment of cervical cancer are also highly cost-effective.
“Nine in 10 women who die from cervical cancer are in poor countries. This means some of the most vulnerable women in our world are dying unnecessarily. This is not fair or just.
“Rising cervical cancer deaths is undermining health gains for women made in maternal health and HIV care. Current disparity in survival from cervical cancer, which varies between 33-77%, is unacceptable and can be minimized.
“It doesn’t have to be this way: Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively. We can reduce new diagnoses in two ways, HPV vaccination and screening of the cervix with follow on treatment of early changes before cancer appears.
“We can also prevent deaths due to cervical cancer through early detection and prompt treatment of cancers found. Currently, most women diagnosed with cervical cancer are diagnosed with advanced cancers, where opportunity for cure is small. This compounded by lack of access to life-saving treatment in settings where the burden and need is highest.
“We must accelerate progress. We must ensure that all girls globally are vaccinated against HPV and that every woman over 30 is screened and treated for pre-cancerous lesions.
“To achieve that, we need innovative technologies and strategies. We must improve access to diagnosis and treatment of invasive cancers at their earliest stages and ensure that availability of palliative care for women who need it.
“All of these services must be embedded in strong health systems aimed at delivering universal health coverage. High-income countries have shown the way. Now is the time for global elimination.
“Urgent action is needed to scale up implementation of proven cost-effective measures towards the elimination of cervical cancer as a global public health problem. These actions include vaccination against human papillomavirus, screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions, early detection and prompt treatment of early invasive cancers and palliative care.
“This will require political commitment and greater international cooperation and support for equitable access, including strategies for resource mobilization.”