Confronting Cancer with Comprehensive Strategies
As the most common types of cancer for women in our region, breast and cervical cancer have emerged as major health issues. Being unable to reach services that can prevent, detect, and treat breast and cervical cancers means the disease is claiming women’s lives at alarming rates.
In Latin America, women with breast cancer have a survival rate that’s 20% lower than women who live in the United States and Western Europe. And the number of deaths from cervical cancer is seven times higher in Latin America and the Caribbean than in North America.
To meet the urgent needs of Latin American and Caribbean women, we pledged to dramatically increase cancer-related services by 2020. Through alliances with our Member Associations, governments, and the private sector, we are making cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment services more available to women.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines can prevent approximately 70% of cervical cancer cases and provide an opportunity to significantly reduce the number of deaths attributed to the disease. In Honduras, our local partner, Ashonplafa, partnered with the Ministry of Health to secure donations of the HPV vaccine and implement a school-based vaccination program for girls. By the end of the program, more than 8,300 girls had received all three doses of the vaccine, and the program accomplished 95% of its goal. This collaboration has given the Ministry of Health a model for HPV vaccination that not only works, but can also be used to scale up the program nationally.