Researchers call for the EU to increase cervical cancer screening rates 

Cervical cancer is often preventable. However, in many EU countries, screening rates are still low. In light of this, researchers have called for the EU to raise awareness and remove barriers to accessing screening to increase the numbers. 

In a presentation of a new white paper on how to increase cervical cancer screening, the research group ACCESS Consensus Group pointed out that in the EU there are 33,000 cases of cervical cancers and 15,000 deaths, which shouldn’t be the case. 

Evidence supports the notion that cervical cancer screening improves the chances of successful treatment and reduces mortality rates, particularly when the cancer is detected early. 

The report emphasized the importance of vaccination and screening strategies in combating cervical cancer, These are effective measures, but they rely on women having access to them in the first place, as the report points out the disparities within the European region. 

On Wednesday, the Commission announced its latest vaccination proposals, which include recommendations for targeting human papillomaviruses (HPV). HPV is a viral infection that can lead to cervical cancer. It’s estimated that 90% of cervical cancers are preventable. 

Addressing the issue with prevention and screening 

After the release of the new European Cancer Manifesto, European Union legislators and stakeholders are now focusing on prevention and screening policies throughout Europe.

Their investigations have pinpointed specific groups of women who are under-screened, influenced by various factors such as lack of awareness, cultural or religious beliefs, physical disabilities, a false sense of security, and insufficient insurance coverage, among other reasons.

Yet, the research team has proposed potential solutions to ameliorate this situation. Simple measures like optimizing invitation systems, such as utilizing SMS instead of physical letters, have demonstrated a notable increase in participation.

Additionally, the introduction of self-sampling is seen as a helpful strategy. While this practice is gradually being implemented in many countries, experts caution that it is not foolproof.

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