HPV Action Network

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Our Activities for HPV Awareness Day 2024

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On the occasion of HPV Awareness Day 2024, the European Cancer Organisation's HPV Action Network, together with a variety of partners and stakeholders, is holding a hybrid meeting to discuss the major outcomes and lessons learned so far from initiatives developed in countries across Europe, such as Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, as well as beyond. Furthermore, new online resources for promoting awareness will be presented (alongside the International Papillomavirus Society) and we will unveil a new important building block in the PROTECT-EUROPE project.

European Cancer Summit 2023 Session: Turning Up the Dial - Advancing the Elimination of HPV and Hep B Cancers
 
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Watch the session recording here and read the full European Cancer Summit 2023 Report to discover the rich and diverse discussions of this session.

 

PROTECT-EUROPE: Vaccinating Europe to protect against HPV cancers

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PROTECT-EUROPE is an EU4Health Project that champions gender-neutral vaccination programme in EU Member States to provide protection for everyone against cancers caused by HPV e.g. cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, vulval and oropharyngeal. 

ECO is coordinating this EU Project under the EU4Health Programme 2021-2027 and leading the project communication, dissemination and exploitation efforts in consultation with other 33 project partners. 

Read more here.

 

HPV Action Now in Europe
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We have launched a new webpage to bring more attention to our efforts across Europe against HPV. The European Cancer Organisation's HPV Action Network works to eliminate all the cancers caused by HPV, following the recommendations included in Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. 

To do this we are actively supporting advocacy campaigns on HPV elimination in Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, bringing together and supporting organisations in those countries to make the case for faster progress on HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.

Please check the page for all relevant updates from these countries.

 

The HPV Action Network

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HPV Change Makers

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The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes a variety of different cancers, often resulting in suffering and death. The tragedy is that almost all these cancers are preventable with a simple vaccine and periodic screening. But how to get governments to offer these services and their citizens to accept them?

Meet some inspiring advocates who have made a powerful case for change in their countries.

 
HPV Testimonies
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HPV Testimonies is an online resource containing the very personal stories of 10 men and women who have direct experience of the different cancers caused by HPV. The testimonies illustrate how HPV can affect anyone and reveal the emotions and experiences of people as they dealt with their diagnosis and the treatments that followed. They talk about the impact on their lives and on those around them, and whether they have been able to get back to a ‘normal’ life. As the EU’s member states consider the implementation of the Beating Cancer Plan, it is essential that decision-makers keep the voices of patients at the front of their minds as they make their plans.

 

Latest Network Reports

 

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HPV causes about 5% of all cancers worldwide. The most common of these cancers is cervical but the virus is also implicated in cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, head and neck. A significant proportion of the cancers caused by HPV in Europe are in men.

Compared to many other cancer prevention strategies – such as tobacco control, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity or tackling obesity – HPV vaccination is easy to deliver, has an immediate positive health impact and is highly efficacious. In fact, it is probably the single most effective means of cancer prevention in the medical arsenal.

We therefore encourage HPV vaccination programmes in Europe and beyond to make the best possible use of this evidence. If we can achieve a 90% vaccination rate across Europe, we know we will succeed in eliminating HPV cancers as a public health problem in the region.

Read more here.

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There is plenty of work to do to achieve the elimination of all cancers caused by HPV as a public health problem. But, armed with the vital information contained in this report, we will now do what we can to accelerate action at the regional level and also to support advocacy efforts by HPV organisations within individual countries to help ensure that all health systems take the action that is needed to protect their populations effectively.

If all countries in the region emulated the current best-performers, almost 100,000 cancer cases a year could be prevented. That would be a remarkable achievement and a world-leading example for other regions to follow.

Read more here.

Position paper on self-sampling and HPV screening in Europe

The HPV Action Network, in collaboration with the Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer, published a position paper on self-sampling and HPV screening in Europe. This argued that offering women and people with a cervix the opportunity to collect the HPV sample themselves would contribute to the achievement of a significant increase in the uptake of cervical cancer screening. Self-sampling is particularly suitable for those who find it hard to access standard screening facilities, perhaps because they live in countries with less provision or in remote areas or have a disability, or where there are cultural barriers or previous traumatic experiences.

Elimination of HPV related cancers is one Flagship initiatives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan 

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EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, presents the elimination of cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) as one of the Flagship initiatives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan during the #EUCanBeatCancer event: United against Cancer on 3 February 2021. The panel discussion was joined by Dr Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation.


The Network saw its key goals on the elimination of all the cancers caused by HPV adopted by Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, which was launched in February 2021. The Plan contains major commitments on gender-neutral HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening that take account of the case we presented in our major report "Viral Protection: Achieving the Possible. A Four Step Plan for Eliminating HPV Cancers in Europe".

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Published in October 2020, the Viral Protection report set out a four-step plan for eliminating HPV cancers in Europe and formed the basis for the Network’s advocacy work on the Beating Cancer Plan. The report called for the implementation of gender-neutral HPV vaccination programmes and effective cervical cancer screening programmes in all European countries as well as the adoption of best-practice treatments for all patients with cancers caused by HPV, and improved HPV education and awareness programmes for both patients and health professionals.

There is now an opportunity for Europe to play a world-leading role through making the elimination of all the cancers caused by HPV an objective shared by all European countries. When vaccination programmes are introduced - whether for girls, boys, or both sexes - the opportunity to vaccinate and protect as many young people as possible should be seized.

Background

The HPV Action Network was established following the 2019 European Cancer Summit. At this meeting, over 300 cancer community stakeholders agreed this resolution: ‘By 2030, effective strategies to eliminate cancers caused by HPV as a public health problem should be implemented in all European countries’.

The Summit was soon followed by the launch of the Network at the European Parliament in Brussels in December 2019 with the support of the late Professor Véronique Trillet-Lenoir MEP. The Network brings together organisations and individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who share the ambitious but highly achievable goal of eliminating all the cancers and other diseases caused by HPV across the European region.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common sexually transmitted infection that causes 5% of all cancers in men and women worldwide and about 2.5% of cancers in Europe. Cervical cancer is the most commonly-caused cancer but HPV is also responsible for a high proportion of anal, penile, vaginal, vulval and oropharyngeal cancers. Up to 20-30% of HPV cancers affect men. HPV also causes genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare but disabling breathing condition.

Follow the HPV Action Network’s activities on Twitter @HPVAction

To learn more or to support our work, please contact us here.

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