The 15th European Week for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer starts today and through January 31. This cancer teats 3,000 women each year and causes 1,100 deaths. But according to specialists 90% of these cancers could be avoided if the screenings were carried out correctly. That is why the New Aquitaine regional cancer screening coordination center is mobilizing and launching for the first time a major organized screening campaign for cervical cancer targeting women aged 25 to 65.
600,000 women targeted by this campaign in the region
Currently in France 40% of the women concerned do not get tested. There are 600,000 women in New Aquitaine alone. With this campaign, they will therefore receive an invitation by mail to get tested at a general practitioner, a gynecologist or a midwife. A year later, if nothing is done, a reminder will be sent.
The type of screening varies according to age:
– According to the explanation of the League Against Cancer, “between 25 and 29 years old, if the result of the cytological examination is normal, this means that no abnormality that may correspond to precancerous lesions or cancer was detected at the time of screening. If this is the first screening, it must be repeated 1 year later. If the results of these first two screenings 1 year apart are normal, you will have to do a new screening 3 years later. “
– “From 30 years old, if the HPV test result is negative, it means that no high-risk HPV infection has been detected. The HPV test is repeated every 5 years until the age of 65. “
Different follow-up is necessary in three cases : women who have a transplant, women living with HIV and those who have been exposed to distilbene.
The importance of the upstream papillomavirus vaccine
Cancer of the cervix is the 4th cancer in women in the world, the 12th cancer in France. It is almost always linked to a papillomavirus.
The campaign also insists on vaccination against this papillomavirus. A virus spread through sexual contact. Vaccination is necessary among adolescents, both girls and boys. Currently, only 25% of young girls are vaccinated at 16 years old.
But there is also a disparity in access to this campaign and to screening according to Dr Athenais Lair, specialist in public health. “We know that 25-year-old women have a participation rate of 70% while the participation of women over 60 is only 40%. Often after menopause, women stop their gynecological monitoring and yet it is in this age group that surveillance must be strengthened “, she explains. The median age of diagnosis is 53 years in France and the average age of death 64 years.
There is also a territorial disparity. “In New Aquitaine, there is a 13% difference in participation in screening between the Creuse at 53% and the Gironde at 66%.”
The challenge of continuing screening despite the health crisis
The current health situation is pushing a number of women to cancel their appointments to get tested. A dangerous phenomenon that we must absolutely fight against according to doctor Zineb Lounici, a radiologist at the Bordeaux University Hospital.
“This covid crisis has delayed screening and I see it every day with the number of my consultations for screening which has dropped drastically. This delays the diagnosis, disrupts certain treatments. We already know that this crisis will be the end of the line. origin of at least 1% increase in mortality so it is far from trivial “, she alarms.
We have to be very vigilant about our information messages so that women do not disengage – doctor Zineb Lounici
The objective of this campaign is to reduce the number of deaths by 30% within 10 years and achieve 80% coverage rate. Screening makes it possible to detect 200,000 abnormal samples and 32,000 precancerous lesions each year