Back in December 2019, NOMAN partnered with the European Cancer Organisation as part of a new HPV Action Network which called for urgent evidence-based action to eliminate cancers by the EU and all governments throughout the WHO European region.
Today, 7th October 2020, sees the launch of a major new report ‘Viral Protection: Achieving the Possible. A Four Step Plan for Eliminating HPV Cancers in Europe’, it calls for a series of goals in order to prevent 67,500 cancer cases per year across the 27 EU member states, rising to 90,000 across the wider World Health Organisation (WHO) European region.
The central recommendation of our plan to eliminate HPV Cancers in Europe is as follows:
‘The European Union and the wider WHO European region should commit to the core goal of matching and exceeding the WHO Global Strategy for Cervical Cancer Elimination and implement policies and strategies for the elimination of all the cancers and diseases caused by HPV.’
Action areas to achieve this goal are:
1. Universal (or ‘gender-neutral’) HPV vaccination for adolescents and optimal levels of uptake.
2. National organised population-based cervical cancer screening programmes using HPV testing systems and with higher levels of uptake.
3. Cancer treatments consistently and equitably offered in line with best practice guidelines and care and support that maximises patients’ quality of life.
4. Action to improve public and professional awareness and education about HPV in order to improve vaccination and screening uptake.
We believe that the WHO’s strategy for the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, is not ambitious enough. The forthcoming Europe Beating Cancer Plan, EU Cancer Mission and EU4Health Programme must include actions to eliminate all HPV Cancers. The world has used vaccines to eliminate the suffering caused by many diseases such as smallpox and polio – it is time we add HPV and the suffering it causes to this list.
The HPV Action Network urges Europe to make HPV cancer elimination a formal European shared goal. Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and other Regional/EU/National initiatives present significant opportunities for progress to be made.
Viral Protection highlights that:
· A quarter (14 out of 54, 26%) of European region countries still do not vaccinate girls against HPV.
· Under a half (26 countries, 48%) vaccinate, or are planning to start vaccinating, boys as well as girls.
· Few countries meet the widely-accepted target of 80% HPV vaccination coverage.
· 16 countries have ‘opportunistic’ cervical cancer screening which means their success depends on the initiative of individual women and their doctors, resulting in lower uptake.
· Treatment outcomes for cancers caused by HPV vary widely across the region; for women diagnosed with cervical cancer, five-year survival rates range from 80% in Iceland to 55% in Poland and Bulgaria.
· ‘Fake news’ about HPV vaccination safety, widely shared via social media, has resulted in falls in uptake; in Denmark, it fell from 90% to 54%.
You can read the plan below, and find out more about the campaign here.