Global Cervical Cancer Elimination

Today at FIGO World Congress we launched our Global Declaration on Cervical Cancer Elimination.

Cervical cancer is a grave threat to women’s health and lives. Globally, one woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes. This suffering is unacceptable, particularly as cervical cancer is largely preventable and treatable, when detected early. Cervical cancer remains one of the most common causes of death for women, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

Nearly 90% of deaths from cervical cancer each year are of women living in low- and middle- income countries. Most of these women will not have had access to the key cervical cancer services which could have saved their lives, nor the palliative care to help them manage their symptoms with dignity and respect. It should also be noted that women living with HIV are at 4-5 times higher risk of cervical cancer.

This is a story of inequality which WHO, UNFPA, FIGO and partners aim to change dramatically. This declaration calls on FIGO membership to join with WHO, UNFPA and the FIGO leadership to work towards ending the pain and anguish of women suffering from cervical cancer and eliminating this preventable tragedy, solving one of the most pressing problems in sexual and reproductive health.

This declaration unites the FIGO membership with WHO and the UNFPA in following the call to action by Dr Tedros Director General of the World Health Organization for “coordinated action globally to eliminate cervical cancer by making sure that all women and girls, in particular those in low-income countries, have equal access to life-saving prevention technologies and services”.

FIGO encourages countries to reach all eligible girls and women through comprehensive cervical cancer control through a life course approach: including vaccination against human papillomavirus, screening and treatment of cervical pre-cancerous lesions, early diagnosis and timely treatment of invasive cancer and palliative care.

As the leading professional society in the field of gynaecology and obstetrics FIGO has a large membership with global reach that can bring their expertise to the global call to eliminate cervical cancer in the following key areas:  • the global advocacy movement • the need to address health workforce knowledge and skills gaps • improvement of community engagement and health literacy   • technical assistance for global guidance • leverage of our collaborations and partnerships   

For too long, too many of the poorest and most vulnerable women have suffered from this highly preventable and curable form of cancer. With significant strides made in reducing maternal mortality, women who are saved now risk dying later from cervical cancer.

This FIGO declaration is a commitment to collaborate on the global effort to accelerate national action towards the elimination of cervical cancer. This is to make cervical cancer a story of the past and to safeguard the human rights of all women everywhere to health and well-being, no matter where they live.