Two and a half years after the European Commission licensed the first vaccine against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of cervical cancer, only 15 European countries have implemented national vaccination programmes. This was one of the main findings reported at the 3rd Cervical Cancer Summit Meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 January, part of European Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2009 (18-24 January). Recent statistics on the meagre roll-out of organised cervical cancer screening programmes were also cited: only seven EU Member States have implemented nationwide population-based screening programmes (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom), while another eight are in the process of doing so.
The Summit was organised by Politicians for Cervical Cancer (PCCP), a Europe-wide network of politicians which works to facilitate the implementation of organised cervical cancer prevention programmes across Europe. At the meeting, the three PCCP co-chairs, Jolanta Dickut? MEP, Glenis Willmott MEP and Françoise Grossetête MEP, all called for urgent action in those countries lagging behind: “It is now clear that cervical cancer prevention programmes that effectively combine organised cervical screening together with vaccination against HPV could prevent almost every case of this deadly disease. Given the benefits that organised cervical cancer prevention programmes can provide to the women of Europe, PCCP will continue to work to within the parliaments of Europe to make sure they are made equitably available to all women across Europe without further delay.”
The 120 participants, who included MEPs, national healthcare parliamentarians, cancer specialists and patient groups, also heard from Jadranka Kosor, the Vice-Prime Minister of Croatia, and a cervical cancer survivor, Rachel Bennett. Individual case studies on the current status of screening or vaccination programmes in Norway, Slovenia, France, Portugal, Serbia and Georgia were also presented.
The photo gallery of the European Cervical Cancer Summit Meeting in the European Parliament are available online at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/quarsan/tags/ecca09/. Once there, you can click on the picture or you can on the slideshow button on the right. If you want an image, click on the thumbnail to see it clearly, then click on “All Sizes” above the photo which will take you to a page where you have a choice of downloading the image in sizes up to 1024pixels.