Mexico City, Mexico
12 - 13 May 2008
Public Health officials from throughout the Americas gathered with immunization and disease experts May 12-13, 2008 in Mexico City to discuss new approaches to fighting cervical cancer in the region. “Toward Comprehensive Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control in the Region of the Americas” was hosted by the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The meeting came as the emergence of cervical cancer vaccines has sparked intense interest in the potential of immunizations combined with improved screening to significantly reduce the considerable burden of the disease in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world.
While cervical cancer incidence and deaths have dropped dramatically in the US and Canada, elsewhere in the Americas cervical cancer remains a major killer. According to presentations at the conference, each year there are 39,000 deaths from the disease in the Americas, and 33,000 of those occur in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The cervical cancer mortality rate for LAC is seven times greater than in North America. In some countries, more than 25 out of every 100,000 women die each year from cervical cancer, compared to 2.5 in the United States and Canada.
Thirty-three thousand women in Latin America and the Caribbean die each year of preventable cervical cancer, caused by a virus that infects 20 percent of men and women in the region and as many as 30 percent of the youngest women, according to a new study. Dramatic new opportunities offered by better screening, treatment and the securing of an affordable vaccine for girls and young women could reduce the current death toll and prevent it from rising to 70,000 over the next two decades, say researchers who analyzed the regional impact of the human papillomavirus (HPV).