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The European Cervical Cancer Association – Prevention in Action

The European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA) was established specifically to co-ordinate a Europe-wide public health education programme to raise awareness about cervical cancer and how it can be prevented.

Dr. Philip Davies, Director General of ECCA explained that “ECCA’s mission is primarily three fold. Where programmes exist, we strive to encourage women to participate in cervical cancer prevention from screening to education, advising on both the drawbacks and the benefits – the latter far outweighing the former. Secondly, where programmes do not currently exist, to call the general public to act through advocacy, and ultimately educate policy makers on the full potential and impact of cervical cancer screening and prevention programmes to be able to better balance off cervical cancer with other healthcare issues and priorities.”

“The reality is that with the screening technologies available we can combat cervical cancer. By applying these technologies in combination with primary prevention strategies, we can collectively impact on cervical cancer rates throughout Europe. In fact, various statistical data and analyses have shown that up to 95% of cervical cancer can be eliminated through screening and prevention programmes. For no other cancer - or possibly any other disease - can such a high rate of prevention be currently achieved. Breast cancer screening for example, can only prevent around 30% of deaths.”

To address the problem of the lack of uptake or access to proper cervical cancer prevention programmes, particularly among women from lower socioeconomic groups or from Eastern Europe where there is a far higher rate of cervical cancer, ECCA and the International Union against Cancer (UICC) have launched an on-line petition – the STOP Cervical Cancer Petition. The objective is to collect 1 million names to exert pressure on the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council to support the implementation of equitable organised cervical cancer prevention programmes across Europe. At the time of writing, the petition counted more than 152,000 signatures.

Dr. Davies also commented on the ongoing success of the European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (ECCPW), “This event continues to generate an enormous amount of interest and awareness about cervical cancer prevention. The second ECCPW which took place in January this year resulted in180 different events in 20 countries across Europe - a five-fold increase on the first ECCPW.”

He concluded by saying “For the first time in history, we have the means to virtually eliminate a human cancer in Europe through the establishment of comprehensive organised cervical cancer prevention programmes. The research has been done and the solution to cervical cancer is now political: politicians and public health officials must be convinced to implement these prevention programmes supported by effective public health education to ensure that all women take full advantage of them.”

For support the STOP petition today visit: http://www.cervicalcancerpetition.eu/

More detailed information about the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA) can be found at: http://www.ecca.info

7.8.2008 European Cancer Organisation Press Release