The WHO Takes On Cervical Cancer

HPV vaccine introduced in Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand national vaccination programs

couple on a sri lankan beach

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced countries in its South-East Asia Region need to accelerate vaccination efforts to eliminate Cervical Cancer by the year 2030.

WHO member countries in this region are working towards interim global targets, such as achieving:

  • 90 percent of girls fully vaccinated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by 15 years of age
  • 70 percent of women screened with a high-precision test at 35 and 45 years of age
  • 90 percent of women identified with the cervical disease receive treatment and care by 2030

Vaccination against HPV, screening, and treatment of pre-cancer, early detection, and prompt treatment of early invasive cancers and palliative care are proven effective strategies to address cervical cancer, says the WHO.

These HPV vaccination and screening efforts are important since there were an estimated 158,000 new cervical cancer cases and 95,766 related fatalities reported in 2018.

“Countries need to expand vaccination, screening, detection and treatment services for everyone, everywhere to address the growing problem of cervical cancer,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia, in a press release on September 6, 2019.

Since 2014, countries in this WHO Region have been taking measures for screening and treatment of pre-cancers. Four countries in the Region - Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand - have introduced the HPV vaccine in their national programs.

“We need to scale up both our capacities and quality for screening, treatment services, and palliative care,” Dr. Poonam said.

The Regional Director continued saying ‘there is a need to strengthen national cervical cancer control plans, including appropriate strategies and guidelines for immunization, screening, treatment, and care, including palliative care.’

The WHO is prioritizing cervical cancer elimination since cervical cancer remains one of the gravest threats to women’s lives.

‘Despite the numerous benefits, several misconceptions about the HPV vaccine still persist,’ said Claire C. Conley, Ph.D.; Postdoctoral Fellow, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, and Monica L. Kasting, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor, Purdue University, in an August 2019 editorial.

‘It’s important to know the facts about this cancer-prevention vaccine.’

‘The Gardasil 9 vaccine is safe, effective, and protects against many strains of HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection and a cause of several cancers' said these professors.

The Gardasil 9 vaccine consists of proteins for the 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 HPV types.

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This editorial discussed the ‘7 common myths about the HPV vaccine and the science that busts those myths.’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on August 23rd, 2019, ‘healthcare providers are the key players in eliminating future HPV cancers.’

"Because the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer, many people think that it’s only recommended for females. However, males should also receive the vaccine, to reduce transmission rates and promote overall reproductive health," said Aubren Emberton, Pharmacy Intern for Brookshire's Grocery Company.

Research data shows that healthcare providers play a key role in educating parents and are the most trusted source of information for parents of pre-teens eligible for vaccination.   

And, the data indicates HPV vaccination rates were higher in teens whose parents reported receiving a recommendation from their child’s healthcare professional.

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., said in a related press release, “The HPV vaccine is safe, and we encourage parents to get their pre-teens vaccinated and take the next step to prevent their children from developing HPV-related cancer later in life.”

The CDC recommends that all pre-teens get the HPV vaccine when they are 11 or 12 years old to protect them before they are ever exposed to the virus.

“HPV vaccination is cancer prevention. We can protect our loved ones with the HPV vaccine.”

To learn more about HPV vaccination, read more details at the CDC. 

Published by Vax Before Cancer