Cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women in 42 low-income and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), with the highest age-standardised incidence rates (40 cases per 100 000 women-years) occurring in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The gross disparity of the burden of this highly preventable disease, whereby 290 000 (51%) of the 570 000 new cases estimated to occur annually befall women in LMICs, has led many people to call attention to the need for urgent action.

In fact, valuable new tools have been developed in the past 20 years to make prevention more feasible, even in low-resource settings: the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, HPV testing, the use of self-collected samples for HPV testing, thermal ablation for treating cervical pre-cancer, the use of mobile phones to improve follow-up after screening, and machine learning to improve visual assessment. These developments have raised the possibility that we can now have a substantial impact in preventing cervical cancer, if these advances are scaled up and applied judiciously.

Read the entire journal article at The Lancet. Vivien Tsu, Clinical Professor of Global Health, is the lead author.