On 17 November 2020, the World Health Organization formally launched the first-ever global effort to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer, an almost entirely preventable cancer thanks to prophylactic vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and screening and treatment of cervical precancers. Despite the availability of several highly effective tools for preventing and controlling cervical cancer, in 2020 alone, more than 341,000 women worldwide were estimated to have died due to this cancer. Equitable access to safe, evidence-based, and effective preventative and treatment strategies can reduce incidence below 4/100,000 per year. Therefore, all countries must take action to improve cervical cancer control. 

The recently adopted Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan aims to support EU member states in meeting these targets. This allows for policymakers across Europe to embrace the opportunity to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health concern. EPHA joins 50 other organisations to call on EU and WHO member states to prioritise the following actions using a comprehensive approach that leaves no-one behind:

  1. Adopt, communicate and implement evidence-based screening policies
  2. Ensure that cervical cancer screening is provided within an organised framework
  3. Optimise screening coverage, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, intensifying efforts to reach women not responding to the screening invitation
  4. Ensure treatment of the screen-detected precancers and cancers
  5. Maximise HPV vaccination coverage to reach the 90% target by 2030
  6. Update the EU guidelines for cervical cancer control, advising on the integration of elimination services with women-centered approaches
  7. Empowering women and working closely with civil society
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