Now is the time for ambition. Now is the time for inspiration. Now is the time for decisive action to create an HPV-cancer-free future for men and women across Europe.
This report has been written with the input and endorsement of a wide range of organisations and individual experts with an interest in cancer and HPV. It is a multi-disciplinary and inter-professional initiative that constitutes a public appeal to decision-makers across Europe to seize the moment.
The new World Health Organization (WHO) strategy for the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem, together with the forthcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the EU Cancer Mission and the EU4Health Programme, create a unique opportunity for Europe to be an international regional leader in replicating what has already been achieved for another once-endemic virus, smallpox – the elimination of all the cancers and diseases caused by HPV.
This goal is achievable through evidence-based steps in four key areas: vaccination, screening, treatment, and public awareness.
The European Union and the wider WHO European region should commit to the core goal of matching and exceeding the WHO Global Strategy for Cervical Cancer Elimination and implement policies and strategies for the elimination of all the cancers and diseases caused by HPV.
This report sets out how this goal can be realised through realistic investment and by building on good practice already in place in many but not all European countries.
Commenting on the call to action, Dr Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation, said:
“The new Report, Viral Protection: Achieving the Possible, builds on the World Health Organization’s recently-published global cervical cancer strategy and sets out how elimination of cancers and diseases caused by HPV can be realised through realistic investment and most importantly by building on good practice already in place in many but still too few European countries. This goal, which really is a no-brainer, is achievable through evidence-based steps in four key areas: vaccination, screening, treatment, and public and professional education. We know what to do, so let’s seize the moment.”
Professor Daniel Kelly, Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s HPV Action Network, said:
“The forthcoming Beating Cancer Plan is a unique opportunity for the EU to take the lead in eliminating all cancers caused by HPV in men and women. We urge the Commission to adopt our proposals for action and for member states to act, especially those currently behind in terms of HPV vaccination, screening, treatment and public awareness.”
Professor Rui Medeiros, Co-Chair of the European Cancer Organisation’s HPV Action Network, said:
“The World Health Organization considers ‘vaccine hesitancy’ – the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines – as one of the top 10 threats to global health. We have already seen the impact of fake news on HPV vaccination programmes in Europe with unfounded rumours about safety significantly reducing uptake. Unless action is taken quickly, thousands of people may suffer or die unnecessarily from easily-preventable cancers.”