WHO Releases New Guidelines For Cervical Cancer Prevention

More than 270,000 women die every year from cervical cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Although these numbers are not as high as they were in years previous, the numbers are still very high in the developing world, where the majority of cervical cancer deaths occur. In light of this, the WHO, in its newly released report, presents guidelines for the developing world on how what can be done to reduce the harrowing statistics that represent cervical cancer.

The World Health Organization states that while cervical cancer is the deadliest form of cancer to affect women, it is also the most easily prevented. In its attempt to aid prevention, WHO has released a new guidebook-- the Comprehensive cervical cancer control: a guide to essential practice. Also referred to as the "Pink Book," according to the International Business Times, it "aims to address social inequities and gender discrimination in creating health programs."

Dr. Marleen Temmerman, from WHO's Reproductive Health and Research Department, said that in order for cervical cancer rates in the developing world to be reduced, issues of inequality at every level, especially between genders, must be addressed.

"Unless we address gender inequality and ensure women's right to health, the number of women dying from cervical cancer will continue to rise."

According to the World Health Organization, the cervical cancer guidebook consists of three main elements.

  1. Girls aged 9-13 should be vaccinated with two doses of the HPV vaccine rather than the current recommended dose of three. Not only does this make administering the treatment easier, but also reduces cost, an important factor in poorer countries.
  2. The frequency of HPV screening for women should be decreased so that once tested and found negative, a woman should not be screened for at least five years but within the ten year period.
  3. Communication should extend to include a wider audience. This can include parents, adolescents, and educators.

"There are no magic bullets, but the combination of more effective and affordable tools to prevent and treat cervical cancer will help release the strain on stretched health budgets, especially in low-income countries, and contribute drastically to the elimination of cervical cancer." -

Last year, the United States Preventive Service Task Force also changed guidelines surrounding cervical cancer testing for women. According to the Inquisitr, this move had less to do with the reduction of cost and more to do with preventing harm to women and reducing wasted resources.

[Image via complementaryoncology.com]