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New, lifesaving technologies for preventing and treating cervical cancer are here, and PATH and our partners believe they should be available to women and girls around the world, no matter where they live, without delay.

That’s why we’re co-sponsoring the Global Call to Stop Cervical Cancer, together with a coalition of civil society and global health organizations. The Global Call is a movement to mobilize action and put an end to cervical cancer, which unnecessarily kills more than a quarter-million women each year—mostly in poor countries.

An unequal burden

Women don’t have to die of cervical cancer. The disease develops slowly after initial infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and, unlike most other cancers, it is preventable when precursor lesions are detected and treated.

However, millions of women in the developing world are never screened for cervical cancer—whether it is because of the day-long journey to the nearest clinic, local myths and fears, or poor health services.

Now vaccines are available to protect against the strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancer. The new vaccines will make it possible to protect women before they become infected—another line of defense for those who don’t have access to regular screening. The trick is to overcome the challenges of getting the new vaccines into developing-country health systems, so that all women may benefit from the scientific advancement.

Your voice can save lives

With new prevention and treatment options for cervical cancer, the world community can now imagine a future free of this disease. But realizing that future means overcoming a range of technical, financial, and political obstacles, and it’s going to take all of us to make it happen—concerned citizens, policy makers, global and regional organizations, philanthropists, and business leaders. Declaring our desire and intention to stop cervical cancer everywhere, not just in wealthy countries, is an essential first step.

Add your voice to the Global Call to Stop Cervical Cancer. Sign it yourself or on behalf or your organization: www.cervicalcanceraction.org.

More information on PATH’s work

PATH is exploring new ways to prevent cervical cancer—ways that don’t require expensive laboratory equipment or repeated visits to a clinic—but give women in developing countries a fair chance at life. Read about our work:

We also maintain an online cervical cancer library, www.rho.org, and offer HPVFlash, an email update service on cervical cancer prevention—sign up at www.rho.org/subscribe.

Posted August 30, 2007.