Maternal and reproductive health

Cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide and causes a significant number of deaths in the South-East Asia (SEA) Region. Nearly 200,000 new cases of cervical cancer occurred in SEA Region Member States in 2008, giving an incidence of almost 25 per 100,000 and a mortality rate of almost 14 per 100,000. Cervical cancer can be prevented by early screening and vaccination. However, due to poor access to screening and treatment services, the vast majority of these deaths occur in women from nine Member States of the South-East Asia Region which account for more than one third of the global burden of cervical cancer.

In 2015, the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, in consultation with Member States, launched a Strategic Framework for the Comprehensive Control of Cervical Cancer in the South-East Asia Region. To strengthen the Capacity of health-care providers, a training package has been developed based on the emerging scientific evidence related to new technologies and novel paradigms in cervical cancer screening and to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

A paradigm shift has taken place over the recent years in the understanding of the natural history of the disease, the preventive strategies, and the technologies associated with its early detection and treatment. The availability of effective and safe human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has introduced an entire new dimension to the prevention of the disease.

The South-East Asia Region of WHO publishes a training package on a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer screening and management of cervical pre-cancers. The training package provides strategies for a screen-and-treat programme building upon the existing evidence-based WHO global guidelines.

The training package is intended for programme managers, health-care providers and other professionals who have a responsibility for cervical cancer prevention, detection and treatment at the national and sub-national levels.