SOURCE: American Cancer Society
By Maria Blair, American Cancer Society National Vice President for Strategy
The global toll of cancer will continue to rise if where we live determines whether we live. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many people – especially women and girls – around the world. In the western world, the cervical cancer threat has been dramatically reduced thanks to widely available screening tests and vaccines. In developing countries, however, it is still a leading killer of women, often affecting many women in the prime of their lives – women who support families and are key economic contributors in their countries.
At the GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) Alliance Partners Forum currently under way in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, GAVI has just announced a new commitment to curb the threat of this disease. With GAVI’s support, by 2020, more than 30 million girls in developing countries could have the opportunity to be immunized against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer.
This project has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. The new Cervical Cancer Action Report Card, released December 6 at the GAVI conference, states that if current trends continue, by 2030, cervical cancer is expected to kill more than 474,000 women per year. More than 85 percent of these deaths are expected to be in low- and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, cervical cancer rates are expected to double. In fact, in Tanzania and other parts of eastern Africa, cervical cancer was the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death, according to the American Cancer Society's Global Cancer Facts & Figures (2nd Edition, 2011).
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KEYWORDS: American Cancer Society, GAVI Alliance, cervical cancer awareness, HPV Vaccine, Maria Blair, Global Health
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