80%. This is the number of women exposed to papillomaviruses in their lifetime. And while this sexually transmitted infection is often mild, it can sometimes lead to cancer. To prevent risks and ever eradicate the disease, there are two effective systems: screening and vaccination.
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are highly contagious. These viruses affect both women and sexually active men. And if the body has the power to eliminate all germs on its own, it sometimes happens that a chronic infection by certain papillomaviruses (particularly types 16 and 18) causes cervical cancer. Nearly 1,100 women are needed each year, as the French public health agency and the National Cancer Institute recall.
This disease is mainly known in women, but much less in men. However, a papillomavirus infection can cause intimate warts, cancer of the mouth, throat, genitals, or anus in either sex.
A hope to eradicate cancer
Vaccination against HPV is recommended for both young girls ages 11 to 14 and young men to prevent infections.  This vaccine is nearly 100% effective when injected before the onset of sexual life. Screening, on the other hand, aims to detect and treat precancerous lesions before they progress.
Only here, in France, only 59% of women aged 25-65 were screened between 2018 and 2020 (compared to 58% in 2017-2019). The reason ? “Vaccination rate remains very low in France” as epidemiologist Françoise Hamers explains, quoted by West France. And rightly so, the latter varies greatly according to age (65% between the ages of 25 and 45 and 45% among women aged 60-65). In addition, the screening and vaccination campaign is lagging behind in some countries, such as Portugal, Sweden or the United Kingdom.
” Until 2018, with the exception of a few departments, there was no organized population screening. »
Francoise Hamers, West France
However, screening and vaccination are effective means of eradicating cervical cancer. The evidence is that, thanks to an extensive awareness and prevention campaign that has been carried out over several years, Australia is on the cusp of becoming the first country to overcome this cancer. This should be the case in 2025.
A news that brings hope and shows the importance of the vaccine and the smear in the fight against cervical cancer.