World Cancer Day

Globally, one woman dies every two minutes from cervical cancer . As the second most common cancer among women, there are 530,000 new cases every year.  The developing world is disproportionately burdened by this disease - 86% of cases occur in developing countries where prevention services are limited or unavailable. In some environments, the mortality rate is as high as 52%. 

We know that infection with one of many strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a leading cause of cervical cancer. The good news is that it can be prevented. Screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions is the most cost effective method of preventing the disease and creating positive health impact in low-resource settings.  However, less than 5% of women in developing countries have accessed screening services. With simple, low-cost interventions, organization like PSI can improve health outcomes for a population that is often neglected, women around the world.

Unreliable health system infrastructure and public sector screening, treatment, and referral networks are barriers to cervical cancer prevention. PSI’s social franchise networks address these problems by increasing a woman’s access to quality, affordable life-saving services. PSI currently offers cervical cancer screening services through our franchise clinics, and other public sector support models, in eight country programs. Four more country programs are in the process of integrating cervical cancer services into their existing family planning services. Franchise clinics provide the opportunity to integrate cervical cancer screening with already established reproductive health programs.

In many communities health seeking behaviors are oriented to disease treatment as opposed to timely prevention, fostering a lack of awareness of the importance of early screening and treatment.  Many women wait to seek care until HPV infection has manifested as cancerous lesions on the cervix or worse, invasive cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. By using behavior change communications and social marketing, PSI is able to bolster demand for and education surrounding cervical cancer screening and prevention on a local level. 

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