The European response to the WHO call to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem

Marc Arbyn* (Corresponding Author), Murat Gultekin, Philippe Morice, Pekka Nieminen, Maggie Cruickshank, Philip Poortmans, Daniel Kelly, Mario Poljak, Christine Bergeron, David Ritchie, Dietmar Schmidt, Maria Kyrgiou, Ann Van den Bruel, Laia Bruni, Partha Basu, Freddie Bray, Elisabete Weiderpass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
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The age-standardised incidence of cervical cancer in Europe varies widely (between 3 and 25/100000 women-years) in 2018. HPV vaccine coverage is low in countries with the highest incidence and screening performance is heterogeneous among European countries. A broad group of delegates of scientific professional societies and cancer organisations endorse the principles of the WHO call to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem, also in Europe. All European nations should, by 2030, reach at least 90% HPV vaccine coverage among girls by the age of 15 years and also boys, if cost-effective; they should introduce organised population-based HPV-based screening and achieve 70% of screening coverage in the target age group, providing also HPV testing on self-samples for non- or under-screened women; and to manage 90% of screen-positive women. To guide member states, a group of scientific professional societies and cancer organisations engage to assist in the roll-out of a series of concerted evidence-based actions. European health authorities are requested to mandate a group of experts to develop the third edition of European Guidelines for Quality Assurance of Cervical Cancer prevention based on integrated HPV vaccination and screening and to monitor the progress towards the elimination goal. The occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, having interrupted prevention activities temporarily, should not deviate stakeholders from this ambition. In the immediate post-epidemic phase, health professionals should focus on high-risk women and adhere to cost-effective policies including self-sampling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Early online date4 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.A. was supported by the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology; the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, through the RISCC Network (Grant No. 847845); and Belgian Foundation Against Cancer through the IHUVAC project. M.G. declares having received travel support and honororia from M.S.D. to be a speaker. M.P.'s institute received funding from the RISCC Network (Grant No. 847845), see M.A. M.K. reports no conflict of interest related to this work. M.K. has received institutional research grant from M.S.D. and personal support for attending medical symposia from companies. L.B. reports no personal conflicts of interest, her research unit has received unrestricted research grants from Merck and Co., Inc. L.B.'s institute also received funding of the RISCC Network (Grant No. 847845), see M.A. P.M., P.N., M.C., P.P., D.K., C.B., D.R., D.S., A.V.D.B., P.B., F.B., and E.W. declared no conflict of interests.


  • cervical cancer screening
  • HPV vaccination
  • Europe
  • WHO
  • elimination of cervical cancer
  • COVID-19


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