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Global Health Groups Announce Project to Tackle Cervical Cancer Burden in Latin America and the Caribbean
Cervical Cancer is a Major Public Health Issue in Latin America and the Caribbean

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 29, 2013 – The American Cancer Society today announced its participation in a new project to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality among women in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Society has joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Network of National Cancer Institutes of the Union of South American Nations (RINC/UNASUR), and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) to create the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Project for Latin America and the Caribbean, which aims to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality through outreach to women in Latin America and the Caribbean who have never been screened and to increase HPV vaccination among girls. The announcement was made today at the 2013 Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

            Although highly preventable and largely treatable, cervical cancer remains a major life-threatening health problem in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the second most common cancer among women in the region, with an estimated 68,000 women being newly diagnosed and 32,000 women dying from the disease each year. The Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Project for Latin America and the Caribbean will support Ministries of Health and civil society groups with public awareness initiatives to diminish a prevailing culture of stigma and isolation surrounding cervical cancer and to increase access to HPV vaccination and cervical screening, diagnosis and treatment, among other goals. This project is in support of the PAHO Regional Strategy and Plan of Action for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control, endorsed by the Region’s Ministers of Health through the Network of National Cancer Institutes (RINC/UNASUR Health) to strengthen the public health response to this women’s cancer.

            “This announcement comes on the heels of the 66th World Health Assembly, where world leaders just took historic measures to adopt an action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases from 2013 to 2020, which includes indicators for cervical cancer screening and availability of vaccines against the human papillomavirus,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “We are proud to join trusted global health groups to put what we know into action so that women in Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere in the world don’t have to die needlessly from cervical cancer.”

The Society also partnered with leading health organizations to host the ‘Global Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention’ preceding the Women Deliver conference.  With global cervical cancer prevention leaders, advocates, academics and policy makers, the Society joins in a ‘Call to Action’ for universal access to cervical cancer prevention. With the knowledge, resources, and tools to act, the groups call for cervical cancer to become a priority at the global level. See cervicalcanceraction.org for the call to action document.

            In addition to the cervical cancer project, the Society is commissioning a Cost of Action report on the global price of comprehensive global cervical prevention to be released by the end of this year. This report will demonstrate to governments and donors that investments in HPV vaccinations, cervical cancer screenings, and treatments are cost-effective, within reach and urgently needed to save lives. The Society has prioritized cervical cancer prevention, control, and advocacy in its new global strategy as a proven, cost-effective opportunity to save lives and end suffering from this disease.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org. For more information on our global programs, visit global.cancer.org and follow @ACSGlobal on Twitter.

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For more information, contact Busola Afolabi | American Cancer Society | busola.afolabi@cancer.org