A South America without cervical cancer is possible



UNASUR institutions developed a platform to exchange experiences and assistance for the prevention and control the disease in the region.


Cervical cancer (CC) is the only tumor for which there is scientific knowledge and effective solutions that allow interventions at all stages. This makes it possible to not only reduce its mortality rate, but also the reduction of its incidence, and even the total elimination of the disease.

According to the WHO Global Cancer Observatory, 11% of CC deaths worldwide occur in Latin America (over 20,000 deaths per year). 70% of deaths in the region occur in South America. Due to the fact that it is an eradicable disease, South American health authorities can commit to reduce its incidence and prevent unnecessary deaths.

In that sense, the Network of National Cancer Institutes and Institutions (RINC-UNASUR), part of the UNASUR South American Health Council (SAHC), worked to develop a five-year plan for technical assistance to countries in the region.

The proposed “Platform for Exchange of Experience and Technical Assistance on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control in South America” ​​was developed between 2015 and early 2017 and had the support of various regional institutions, including the South American Institute of Government in Health (ISAGS), which made the management of these resources viable, provided technical, administrative and infrastructure support.

Luiz Antonio Santini, Coordinator of the Plan’s Executive Committee highlighted that “One of the pillars for the success of this Regional Plan is that it has been developed with the involvement of all of the region’s countries, which have made available to the Plan the best of their human, technical, and infrastructure resources, not measured in financial value, but supported solely by their feelings of responsibility and solidarity with the people of our region“.

Cervical cancer is the tumor that reflects, with extreme crudeness, the social and gender inequality in health. “It is a disease that affects women of all ages, particularly those from the poorest social classes, exposed to different situations of vulnerability, and that is unacceptable, given that it is a disease almost completely avoidable with scientific and technological knowledge. currently available, “says Felix Rigoli, specialist in Health Systems at ISAGS.

According to the regional project report “Platform for Exchange of Experiences and Technical Assistance for the Prevention and Control of Cervical Cancer in South America”, it is now recognized that cervical screening combined with vaccination against HPV (Human papillomavirus) has a potential for reducing the burden of disease that would have been difficult to imagine just a few decades ago. It has been estimated that screening at least twice in the life of adult women, added to an 80-100% coverage of the HPV vaccine, could generate a radical reduction in the burden of the disease worldwide, with approximately 15 million cases avoided in the next decades globally.

Among the specific objectives of the platform, the first highlight is the provision of evidence and technical assistance for the reduction of access barriers to the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of precancerous lesions and cancer. Secondly, it seeks to implement and optimize a program organized at the national level of each South American country, for the control of CC. The third and final objective is to provide technical assistance and transfer knowledge and regional experiences for the incorporation of possible screening methods to be developed in the context of organized programs.

According to the study, regional integration in social areas has received increasing attention from countries of the southern hemisphere in the last 30 years, with normative frameworks that have managed to produce advances in this cooperation model. In South America, the efforts of regional integration based on common values ​​and ideals and the benefits obtained through “cooperation among peers”, helped socio-economic development in most countries of the Region in the 21st century.

A clear example of this integration is the implementation of this platform. The prevention and control of CC are multifaceted issues that require a variety of perspectives. Through this approach, there is an increase in opportunities and possibilities for implementing the proposals presented here to achieve comprehensive control and a South American region truly free of cervical cancer.



Source: RINC-UNASUR, 2018 – Plataforma de Intercambio de Experiencias y
Asistencia Técnica para Prevención y Control del Cáncer de Cuello Uterino en Suramérica


The publication of this article is part of Pink October, month of global breast and cervical cancer awareness

Access the full study here


Department of Information & Communication Management |  ISAGS-UNASUR
giovanalerda@isags-unasur.org | danielsalman@isags-unasur.org