screening and vaccination still need to progress in France

In France, 1,100 women die of cervical cancer every year, even though the disease could be totally eliminated if screening and vaccination take place in time.

Cervical cancer screening progress in France, as well as vaccination against the papillomavirus infection which causes this disease, but they remain insufficient, warn the health authorities on Monday. Each year, almost 3,000 women develop this cancer and 1,100 die from it, recall the French public health agency and the National Cancer Institute.

However, for the World Health Organization, this cancer could be totally eliminated thanks to two effective and complementary interventions: screening and vaccination, which prevents human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Screening aims to detect precancerous lesions and treat them before they develop into cancer.

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In total, scientists estimate that there are more than 200 types of HPV. They are classified according to the oncogenic risk they present: “low risk” HPV responsible for anogenital condylomas (genotypes 6, 11, 42, 43, etc.), and “high risk” HPV which may be responsible for precancerous lesions and cancerous (genotypes 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, etc.).

It must be carried out within the recommended time intervals: every 3 years between 25 and 29 years old (after 2 tests carried out 1 year apart and whose results are normal) and every 5 years between 30 and 65 years old. Women who have not done so are reminded by mail and benefit from full support for the test.

59% national screening coverage over the 2018-2020 period

Public Health France estimates that national screening coverage for all women aged 25 to 65 is 59% for the 2018-2020 period. A slight increase compared to the previous period (58% in 2017-2019). This figure varies greatly with age and location. It reaches 65% between the ages of 25 and 45 and then decreases significantly from the age of 50 to fall to 45% among women aged 60-65.

Coverage is in any case “insufficient” and “far from the 70% recommended by the European Union”, according to the public health agency. Second pillar of prevention: vaccines against human papillomavirus infections. Vaccination coverage is progressing among adolescent girls but also remains insufficient. In 2020, it was estimated at 41% for a dose at age 15 (35% in 2019) and 33% for the full regimen at age 16 (28% in 2019).

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Breast cancer: the little-known impact of tobacco

Breast cancer: the little-known impact of tobacco

Tobacco is the number one preventable cause of cancer. “Excess risk of developing breast, ovarian and cervical cancer, increased risk of developing heart disease, danger to the fetus for those who wish to be a mother! Tobacco damages women’s bodies and their lives,” recalls Prof. Loïc Josseran*, President of the ACT-Alliance against tobacco.

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