February 27, 2009
Discover key findings from the 2008 pan-Canadian forum about using the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer
This report shares the following key messages from the 2008 forum about using the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer:
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) affects approximately 555,000 Canadian women per year and is the most common sexually transmitted infection in adults. The relationship between HPV and cervical cancer has been known for at least 20 years.
- Cervical cancer deaths have reduced by 60 per cent because of cervical cancer screening using the Pap test. However, the best prevention and early detection of cervical cancer is hampered because of opportunistic screening, low screening compliance, inconsistent specimen reporting and the lack of standardized reporting for abnormal tests.
- The HPV vaccine offers a new way to prevent cervical cancer.
- Combining HPV immunization and advanced cervical cancer screening gives the best way to decrease cervical cancer rates and to improve health outcomes.
- Costs can be managed and HPV can be better understood and prevented by improving high-risk HPV screening methods, and increasing both the time between screenings and its automation. Then Pap test cytology will become reserved to treat HPV-positive women.
- Cervical cancer screening programs are inconsistent in their approach. Incomplete information limits evaluating HPV immunization programs and their impact on detecting cervical cancer and precancerous lesions.
- The HPV program uses many resources and needs to be evaluated.
Key recommendations outlined for moving forward include:
- Advance existing guidelines and clearly state national goals for a HPV vaccination program
- Outline the uptake challenges and opportunities of the HPV vaccine
- Change the public’s attitudes and beliefs about the HPV vaccine
- Analyze the economics of organized versus opportunistic HPV screening
- Advance existing guidelines for acceptable HPV cervical screening
- Track the incidence, prevalence and distribution of HPV genotypes
- Monitor and evaluate programs and their integration on an ongoing basis
- Establish a champion at key organizations to stimulate new opportunities
- Establish national leadership to develop and evaluate strategies