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Key Messages

 Spread the word: some Key Messages

  • There are 510 000 cases of cervical cancer and 288 000 related deaths each year (WHO, January 2010).
  • 1 woman dies every 1/2 hour from cervical cancer in Europe.
  • Unlike other cancers, cervical cancer is necessarily caused by a virus, called the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • HPV is very common as it is easily passed on from one person to another by simple contact.
  • There are about 100 types of the human papillomavirus.
  • Certain virus types are able to transform normal cervical cells into abnormal ones which can go on to form precancers and cancer.
  • These types also affect less frequently the vulva, vagina and penis and in few cases go on to form cancers of the vagina and vulva. Other HPV types cause genital warts – a more noticeable sign of having picked up the virus.
  • It’s estimated that 70% of women and men will come into contact with it, at least once, during their life.
  • Fortunately 80 to 90% of cases the human papillomavirus will be naturally eliminated.
  • Cervical cancer can be prevented with vaccination and screening. Together vaccination and screening offer comprehensive prevention of cervical cancer. Vaccination, as primary prevention, is for the young ones (vaccine is indicated 9 to 26) and screening, as secondary, is for adult life (from ~18 year old) on a regular basis.
  • Being vaccinated before exposure to the virus helps protect women against cervical cancer and the precancerous lesions that precede it.
  • Vaccination is the first line of defence, the second is screening.
  • Cervical cancer is detected at early stage by regular screening. The treatment of precancerous conditions can prevent cervical cancer from developing.
  • Together vaccination and screening can save more lives and suffering.
  • Barriers to screening and to HPV vaccination are the same and linked to lack of information: unawareness of the disease, of the virus and its link to cervical cancer – is the first reason.
  • 82% of the women questioned by WACC’s Voice of Women Survey (2008 results) said there was an definite need for more information on cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and its prevention.


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