"Before thinking about ourselves, which we all have a legitimate right to do, ethics requires us to think of others and calls on us to be responsible on their behalf" Emanuel Levinas
Welcome to the WACC - Women Against Cervical Cancer, platform of resources and information
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer in women: it affects around half-a-million women and - each year - kills over 280,000, worldwide. Its impact can be devastating as it strikes mainly at women in their 30s and 40s, a time when many are bringing up young families or concentrating on their careers and enjoying busy lives. Having cervical cancer puts a huge personal and emotional burden on the women and their families and friends, as well as placing enormous medical and economic costs on society. We know that cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with the human papillomavirus, HPV. This virus is also responsible for millions of cases of pre-cancerous cervical disease: and even though it is not cancer, women with this diagnosis still suffer a great deal of anxiety and distress because they are worried that it could develop into cancer. Pre-cancerous disease needs close monitoring - and sometimes treatment, too - and this puts a further great burden on health resources.
The extensive benefits of fighting the disease are clear to see.
The good news is that, if women are regularly screened pre-cancerous disease can be detected in the early stages, before it has a chance to develop into cancer. HPV testing adjunct to cytology screening programs has demonstrated it's performance to recognise precancerous lesions earlier and more accurately than Pap alone, and in addition this test provides a long period of reassurance for women who show negative results.
The introduction of HPV vaccines means that not only cervical cancer but also pre-cancer, and some other genital neoplasias, can be prevented by vaccination against the causative virus.
The success of any campaign be it in respect to diagnosis, prevention or treatment of diseases such as cervix cancer, depends first on professional education as a basic requirement. This is what many scientific societies and EUROGIN have been providing since 25 years, and will continue to share the energies for improving clinical practice. Furthermore, the concept of prevention demands ongoing efforts of public education to mobilizing healthy individuals to actively seek preventive healthcare, making them aware that their health is at stake.
The recent WACC international survey shows that despite women getting more and more information, despite of screening and vaccination as powerful tools available for prevention, women need to make use of them. We still observe strong barriers to prevention.
The most successful stories regarding prevention show women sharing these 2 levels of complementary experiences:
- providing information and improving awareness to build the confidence and familiarity this the main goal of WACC Initiative
- promoting education and policies for clinical practice to help physicians to make the final decision giving reassurance and conviction to women this is the EUROGIN education mission.
The time has come to share medical knowledge with the general population, to make each person a responsible partner, to share actions and efforts with associations who work in contact with the public (WACC Network). In addition, places to debate and exchange ideas and experiences must be created to make born the confidence (WACC Forum).
Based on the extensive scientific experience of EUROGIN, the WACC Forum, through a network of national and international member organisations working closely together, aims to promote public awareness and knowledge of HPV and associated diseases, and to make cervical cancer prevention a top priority on women's agendas.
The essence of WACC is embodied in five missions:
- To inform, to gather, to educate, to work together and most importantly
- To take action !
The WACC Network is an umbrella of national and international organisations that are united in the commitment to fight cervical cancer. More than 50 advocacy groups and women's health associations have joined WACC.
WACC will provide the first ever EUROGIN and European Women's Health Award to advocacy actions or campaigns, initiated by an individual or organization that showed a significant impact on public awareness of HPV diseases and prevention behaviours. The award with a prize corresponding to 15 thousand Euros will be aimed to support international collaborations, based on training and implementation of the successful actions to other regions, where HPV diseases are still neglected.
The WACC Network shall be independent of political or commercial interests, foster high ethical standards and shall respect socio cultural issues and not replace any organisation or health leaders working in this field
Today all together we have the feeling of a great source of satisfaction. We clinicians are on the front line of information for our patients, though often frustrated by a lack of time. Federating energies and coordinating the efforts undertaken by numerous associations of women who are implicated in health education is an immense joy.
WACC represents a formidable impetus of solidarity, generosity, compassion and sharing, thanks to women who act together to fight cervical cancer.
WACC is particularly proud to play a concrete role in this generous action, this open door to the service of women, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, and to provide this international centre of information and resources on cervical cancer prevention: a digital platform, with always more to come, and various educational tools aimed at women, mothers, patients, educators and all concerned by the health of women.
President WACC Foundation