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Reprod Health Matters. 2008 Nov;16(32):59-66. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(08)32405-7.

A Pan American Health Organization strategy for cervical cancer prevention and control in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC, USA.


Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Latin America and the Caribbean, and disproportionately affects poorer women. Mortality rates in the region are seven times greater than in North America. In light of the significant public health burden, the Pan American Health Organization has drafted a Regional Strategy for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control. The Strategy calls for increased action to strengthen programmes through an integrated package of services: health information and education; screening and pre-cancer treatment; invasive cervical cancer treatment and palliative care; and evidence-based policy decisions on whether and how to introduce human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. It calls for a seven-point plan of action: conduct a situation analysis; intensify information, education and counselling; scale up screening and link to pre-cancer treatment; strengthen information systems and cancer registries; improve access to and quality of cancer treatment and palliative care; generate evidence to facilitate decision-making regarding HPV vaccine introduction; and advocate for equitable access and affordable HPV vaccines. This proposed strategy, approved by the PAHO Directing Council on 1 October 2008, has the possibility of stimulating and accelerating the introduction of new screening technology and HPV vaccines into programmes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

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