Woman Cervical Cancer: Context

Interest in Cervical Cancer is primarily justified by the morbidity and mortality caused by cervical epithelial cancer and their precursors.

Globally, cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in women.

Every year, 270 000 women die from cervical cancer and another 500 000 are newly diagnosed, while in the European Union 34 000 new cases and over 16 000 deaths are reported. There is a large discrepancy within European countries with 3-4 fold higher rates in incidence and mortality in certain Eastern European countries.

Despite the enthusiasm with the initial results with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination it is generally accepted that cervical cancer screening will have to continue after vaccination, in particular because the population most at risk will not have been vaccinated. Vaccination is expected to impact incidence rates in more than 20 years from now when the first vaccinated adolescents will have reached the age of developing cervical cancer. Prior to that, patients who develop cervical cancer will not have been vaccinated. We should also consider that the population at risk may not seek vaccination for a variety of reasons. There is therefore a need today for the improvement of CC medical practices in terms of diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer is common in older people but cancer of the uterine cervix primarily affects younger women, with the majority of cases appearing between the ages of 35 and 50, when many women are actively involved in their career or carrying their families. The burden of cervical cancer is particularly high in the new member states.

The highest annual world-standardized mortality rates are currently reported in Romania, Serbia, and Lithuania (11.4 -9.2 and 10.0/100 000, respectively) and the lowest rates in Finland (1.1/100 000) while average mortality rates in France, Germany and the Netherlands are reported 2.2 -2 and 1.7/100 000, respectively.

Government Authorities, Parliamentary Representatives and Advocates should be aware that the substantially higher dimension of this public health problem in the east of the EU requires special attention.