Cervical cancer: prevention is key
Amsterdam, 18 January 2023 - January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, an important time to educate ourselves about this disease and take steps to prevent it. As procurement agent for Defeat NCD (DNCD), IDA Foundation is committed to increase access to medication and diagnostics aimed at different NCDs including cancer.
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Around 90% of cervical cancer cases is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. In most cases, the body is able to clear the virus on its own, but in some cases it can lead to the development of cervical cancer. Besides causing cervical cancer, HPV is also the most important cause of anal, penile, vaginal and vulvar cancers.
One of the most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer is through regular screenings, such as the Pap test or HPV test. These tests can detect the presence of abnormal cells or the HPV virus, allowing for early diagnosis and curative treatment. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should have regular cervical cancer screenings. Another way to prevent cervical cancer is by getting the HPV vaccine. The vaccine protects against the most common variants of HPV, and is recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12, but can also be given to older adolescents and young adults.
Because cervical cancer is often asymptomatic, meaning it doesn't show any symptoms, it's important to get regular cervical cancer screenings. If cervical cancer is detected early, the chances of successful treatment are much higher. IDA offers a wide variety of chemotherapies to treat different cancers, among which cisplatin, carboplatin and paclitaxel, to treat cervical cancers. DNCD is planning to roll out large HPV vaccination programmes in different countries, besides increasing the availability of treatments and diagnostic tests. More information about this will follow later.