Toolbox for Implementation of Screening Programs for Cervix Cancer World-Wide

Armen Hareyan's picture


Cervix cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Unlike other cancers, cervix cancer can easily be prevented through screening and treatment of detected pre-cancerous lesions. It has thus the potential to be greatly reduced by a well-organized screening. This characteristic makes it one of the priority in the fight against cancer worldwide.

A huge burden on the most vulnerable: poor women in the developing world

Each year, 500,000 women learn that they have cervix cancer and 230,000 die from it. The vast majority of these women (80%) live in developing countries. It adds unnecessary suffering and has a strong economic impact on the most deprived, their families and their communities. This huge inequality in health is even more striking when we know that well-implemented screening programmes can easily prevent cervical cancer, as demonstrated by the experience of some developed countries over the past 50 years.

Well organized screening programs are cost-effective also in low-resource settings


Further, multi-country studies have shown that, if well-organized and monitored, low-frequency cervical cancer screening programs are truly cost-effective in many low-ressource settings. Despite this fact, to date, very few effective screening programs exist in these settings. Most of existing programs only lead to a waste of already scarce resources. Says Dr Peter Boyle, Director of IARC: "Cervical cancer is undoubtedly a public health issue that can and needs to be remedied by building awareness, developing policies and implementing effective screening programs, recognizing that screening is just the first step in the management of a woman with cervix pathology."

From observation to methodology: bridging the know-do gap

Developing a global tool for Health Program Managers to reach effective implementation and thus reduce the disease burden was a huge undertaking. It required experience in a variety of regions and across many disciplines. The result is commensurate with the high expectations: this methodological tool is now universally endorsed by the highest health authorities. It gives an applicable and clear answer to a true public health issue that affects millions of women. "We must bridge the know-do gap for the benefit of women in low-resource countries and their families", Dr Boyle went on.

A unique Global Partnership

Partnership is the key

The Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention (ACCP) is a partnership involving five international health organizations: the WHO