Kansas volunteer for American Cancer Society goes to D.C. advocating for global cervical cancer care

Health Check

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – As a nurse of over 20 years, Stacy Ford witnessed the evolution of the human papillomavirus the process of finding a cure in the U.S. However, poor access to healthcare and the HPV vaccine in other parts of the world is causing women to struggle.

Around 311,000 women are dying worldwide each year from cervical cancer according to The World Health Organization, and 85% of the women are in less developed regions.

The World Health Organization said 99% of all cervical cancer cases are linked to the high-risk and common HPV virus.

“Unfortunately, 80% of patients will have HPV, and not everyone is aware they have it,” Ford said.

Dan Leong, a senior manager of heath systems for the American Cancer Society in Topeka said with the HPV vaccine, they feel strongly that cervical cancer and death from it is preventable.

“The American Cancer Society feels strongly that we can come close to eliminating cervical cancer, and that is huge,” Leong said. “If we had a vaccine for breast cancer, prostate cancer, we know there would be high utilization of people wanting to get the vaccine, and we know the vaccination helps to decrease the incidents of mortality for cervical cancer.”

While vaccines are readily available across the United States, other countries struggle to help people prevent the disease.

“In areas like Sub-Sahara Africa, 750 women will die on a daily basis of cervical cancer,” Ford says.

On behalf of The American Cancer Society in Kansas, Ford was invited to talk to Kansas lawmakers in Washington D.C. to extend care and the HPV vaccines to other parts of the world.

“They were very open to what we were asking for, which is to increase the awareness on a global level, to where we can promote programs that would increase cervical cancer awareness, and administer HPV vaccines to these women in Sub-Sahara Africa,” Ford said.

The American Cancer Society recommends the HPV vaccine for boys and girls around the ages of 11 or 12. For more guidelines on the HPV Vaccine, click here.

For more information on cervical cancer in the U.S. and globally visit: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer.html or https://www.who.int/cancer/prevention/diagnosis-screening/cervical-cancer/en/

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