Women don’t have to die of cervical cancer, though many in the developing world do
Women don’t need to die of cervical cancer because the disease develops slowly, after initial infection with the human papillomavirus. Unlike most other types of cancer, it is preventable when precursor lesions are detected and treated.
But millions of women around the world are never screened for cervical cancer—whether because of the long journey to the nearest clinic, local myths and fears about cervical screening, or poor health services. The result is that a half-million new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, with a quarter-million women dying from the disease.
The good news is that PATH is working on methods of screening that do not rely on sophisticated laboratories and can deliver quick results. In addition, we’re working to introduce the new vaccines against the human papillomavirus that will make it possible to protect women before they ever become infected.
The burden of cervical cancer falls disproportionately on women in the developing world, but PATH is working to reduce that inequity, bringing renewed hope to women the world over.
Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.