“Unfounded rumours about HPV vaccines” continue to unnecessarily delay the scaling up of HPV vaccination, which is so urgently needed to prevent cervical cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has warned.
Marking World Cancer Day earlier this month, the IARC issued a statement fully endorsing the position of the World Health Organization on HPV vaccination, confirming it is “safe, efficacious, and critical in the fight against cervical cancer”.
The latest figures from the IARC show that an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2018, making it the fourth most common cancer in women globally.
Every year more than 310,000 women die from cervical cancer, with approximately 90 per cent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
IARC projections show that unless preventive measures are implemented promptly, the burden of cervical cancer is expected to increase to almost 460,000 deaths per year by 2040; an increase of nearly 50 per cent over the estimated number of deaths in 2018.
The greatest relative increase will occur in LMICs, which face major challenges in implementing HPV vaccination programmes and efficient screening and control policies, said the IARC, which is undertaking further HPV vaccine-related research.