Alabama aims to eliminate cervical cancer in a decade

Health professionals in Alabama aim to eliminate cervical cancer in the state in a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported May 6. 

Since the 1970s, cervical cancer rates nationwide have dropped by more than half. Pap tests and the human papillomavirus vaccine have been instrumental in reducing cases. However, cases in women 30 to 44 rose by nearly 2% annually from 2012 to 2019. 

Disease prevention groups and the World Health Organization have turned their attention to cervical cancer as the first to be eliminated. However, pockets of resistance to vaccines and inadequate access to care stand in the way. Physicians are working on a national plan, and Alabama has become a proving ground for elimination, according to the report.

Alabama has the fourth-highest cervical cancer rate and worse rates for Black women and women in rural areas. Hospitals in the state are sending buses to screen women in rural areas and traveling nurse practitioners offer examinations to women with abnormal results without extra cost or traveling for the patient.

"We can eliminate a cancer for the first time ever," Debbie Saslow, PhD, a former American Cancer Society official, told the Journal.

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