Vaccination, screening and early treatment have contributed to better outcomes, but these advances in science can only make a difference if women can access them.
When it comes to cervical cancer, there is a smaller knowledge gap - we know it is nearly 100 percent preventable and that screening and vaccination can save lives. But despite this fact, there remain fundamental inequities in testing, treatment and care for women. Barriers like limited access to testing, fear and anxiety over screening exams and cultural concerns prevent women - particularly in low- and middle-income countries - from getting healthcare that could prevent cervical cancer.
Almost 90% of new cervical cancer cases and deaths worldwide in 2020 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.2
For women who face these kinds of challenges, putting control in their own hands can be life-changing. A new innovation empowers women to collect their own cervical cells for testing, breaking down barriers and reaching women who may not otherwise have the same opportunity for screening. This kind of self-sampling can be completed at a clinic or other location, and a healthcare worker can then process the sample and send it to a laboratory for human papillomavirus - or HPV - testing. This innovation has the power to help revolutionise access to care and bridge the gap that still exists for many women.
Changing the way we think about women’s health by empowering women to take the lead in their own care to best suit their unique situation is just one way we’re working to build a more equitable system. Only by taking individual needs and experiences into account can we provide the right approach for every woman and make the difference that matters.
World Health Organization.Cervical cancer. URL:
Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, Laversanne M, Soerjomataram I, Jemal A, et al. Global cancer statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021:71:209–49. doi:10.3322/caac.21660. URL:
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