January is Cervical Health Awareness Month in the USA.

The International Gynecologic Cancer Society advocates for cervical cancer prevention and early detection not only in the United States, but all countries.

The main cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus HPV, which is spread through skin to skin contact and sexual contact. The HVP vaccine is highly recommended for both males and females to prevent HPV the infections most commonly linked to cancer. Screening tests are the best way to identify pre-cancers before they become invasive. The PAP smear and HPV tests are used for this.

According to an analysis published in JAMA Oncology (2016), in 2015, approximately 526,000 women developed cervical cancer worldwide, causing 239,000 deaths and nearly 7 million years of life lost.  Cervical cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in 11 countries and the most common cause of cancer deaths for women in 50 countries. In low SDI countries 1 in 24 women will develop cervical cancer while 1 in 115 women in high SDI countries will develop cervical cancer in a lifetime. This contrast highlights an unmet need for cancer prevention efforts , especially in low resource settings such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia.

What is being done to address these disparities?

IGCS Members are working towards addressing the challenges of HPV vaccination and ensuring screening and optimal treatment of cervical cancer in low resource settings. At the 16th IGCS Biennial Meeting in Lisbon Portugal, October 29-31, 2016, several physicians reported on their findings and progress being made towards improving women’s health. In these recorded Education Exchange videos, listen to Drs. Neerja Bhatla, Lynette Denny, Surbhi Grover, Ana Tergas, and Suresh Kumarasamy discuss their work in this area.

Dr. Neerja Bhatla

Ensuring Cervical Cancer Screening Of All HIV Affected Women: An Important Initiative In Under Resourced Countries Without A Universal Cervical Cancer Screening Programme

Cervical Cancer Prevention In India

Dr. Surbhi Grover

Treatment Completion And Treatment Tolerability Of Women With Cervical Cancer With And Without HIV In Botswana

Dr. Ana Tergas

Attitudes And Acceptance Of Self-Sampling For Hpv Testing: A Qualitative Study In Cape Town, South Africa

Dr. Lynette Denny

Meeting The Challenges In Africa And Cervical Cancer Prevention Program In Africa

Dr. Suresh Kumarasamy

National HPV Vaccination Program In Developing Countries: Malaysian Success

IGCS would also like to recognize Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a global partnership organization with the shared goal of reducing deaths from cervical cancer and breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries. They work in Botswana, Ethiopia, Nambia, Tanzania and Zambia to help establish evidence based national policies for addressing women’s cancer, educate local communities and offer per-adolescent girls vaccination against HPV.  Learn more about Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.

Through the continued work of organizations, physicians, governments and healthcare facilities to provide education, resources and implement healthcare programs, there is definite hope that the burden of cervical cancer will be reduced worldwide.