WHO Has Bold Plans to Eradicate Cervical Cancer in Next 10 Years

U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers

WHO has announced the elimination of Cervical Cancer as one of the goals of action for the term 2020-2030. The strategy includes the hold of vaccines and immunization at global level in order to control the infection caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Epstein Barr Virus and Guillain Barre Syndrome.

It also includes efficient screening methods and active chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The efficient treatment of Cervical Cancer is globally possible as WHO stresses on its eradication and control especially during the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

“One woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes…Each one is a tragedy, and we can prevent it.” – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General, World Health Organization

Cervical Cancer can be caused by a variety of reasons, the main one being Human Papilloma Virus. Studies show that the causes of cervical cancer limits to HPV transmission. Almost every girl gets infected with HPV at least once in her life as the virus exists in more than 100 types.

Some HPV types are asymptomatic while the severe ones lead to the development of life-threatening conditions such as cervical cancer. These types include HPV 16 and HPV 18 – causing the majority of the cervical cancers. If a woman is infected with HPV, she might experience noticeable cervix changes for example, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or, less commonly, cervical glandular intraepithelial neoplasia (CGIN).

The research shows that the vaccine used to treat the Human Papillomavirus infection can significantly decrease the occurrence of cervical cancer. The vaccine prevents mutation in the normal healthy cells of the cervix thus preventing the formation of cancer.

Every 30 out of 1000 women develop cervical cancer If the cervical screening is not done. The number of affected patients decreases by 60% if the HPV vaccine is inoculated. The vaccine can prevent cervical cancer in about 20 out of 1,000 women.

The discussion on the global eradication strategy of Cervical Cancer was held at the 147th Executive Board of WHO. Dr. Tedros, the WHO Director General has been requested to focus on providing support to the member states by accelerating the elimination of Cervical Cancer as a public health problem.

WHO aims to develop their objectives by lessening the vaccination gaps, providing diagnostic techniques, medical devices and healthcare professionals training, and also by introducing palliative care and preventive measures to the public. WHO is confident in collaborating with the member states and international stakeholders to further the objectives of this goal.

Cervical Cancer can be actively eliminated by means of efficient cervical cancer screening tests. The tests include smear test and pap tests which detects the presence of abnormal or mutant cancer cells present in the cervix.

The preventive measures for this cancer includes the practice of safer sexual activities and other hygienic measures. The screening of cervical cancer has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the limited medical resources and unpreparedness of health emergencies confined the treatment options for chronic disease patients. The patients of cancer should visit the screening centers to resume the palliative care so as to contain the increasing number of cervical cancer cases.

Conclusively, the strategy aims at achieving 90% HPV vaccine coverage, 70% screening coverage, and 90% access to treatment, palliative care and pretreatment. The goal is expected to be reached by the year 2030.

“It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of this global strategy. This is not merely aspirational but a truly realistic goal. For the first time in history, the world could see the elimination not only of a cancer but of a non-communicable disease.” says Dr. Cary Adams, the Chief executive of the Union for International Cancer Control.


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