WCC: Cervical Cancer Control Feasible in Third World

August 29, 2008

In developing countries, vaccines against the human papillomavirus and new screening strategies offer an unprecedented opportunity to combat cervical cancer since standard Pap smear screening has proven too expensive and complicated to implement, according to research presented at the World Cancer Congress of the International Union Against Cancer held Aug. 27 to 31 in Geneva, Switzerland.

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In developing countries, vaccines against the human papillomavirus and new screening strategies offer an unprecedented opportunity to combat cervical cancer since standard Pap smear screening has proven too expensive and complicated to implement, according to research presented at the World Cancer Congress of the International Union Against Cancer held Aug. 27 to 31 in Geneva, Switzerland.

More than 180 leading experts collaborated on a monograph published in the journal Vaccine, which assesses the most promising and cost-effective strategies for developing countries, including the hard-hit Asian-Pacific, Latin American and Caribbean regions.

The researchers estimated that developing countries will see a 75 percent increase in cervical cancer within the next two decades. Even in the most poverty-stricken countries, they found that vaccination would be cost-effective if it cost $10-25 to vaccinate each girl. They also found that new screening methods such as visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) may be inexpensive and simple alternatives to standard Pap smear screening.

"This new era of cervical cancer presents many opportunities and challenges ahead. There is now realistic hope for controlling this disease where the toll is the highest and we have to seize this opportunity. We in the cervical cancer community will be stepping up all our efforts to help developing countries get this disease under control," Isabel Mortara, executive director of the International Union Against Cancer, said in a statement.

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