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New National Initiative to Eliminate Cervical Cancer Launches in DC


May 6, 2011 - WASHINGTON, DC

Cervical Cancer-Free America (CCFA), an initiative to prevent and eradicate cervical cancer nationwide, launches nationwide in Washington DC this week. CCFA is establishing and strengthening diverse partnerships across the country to eliminate cervical cancer. Despite the fact that cervical cancer is largely preventable, nearly 12,000 women develop cervical cancer in the United States each year, and about 4,000 women die. The Washington launch served as the most collaborative and comprehensive call to action to eliminate cervical cancer in the United States.

The mission of CCFA is to bring together public health leaders, foundations, private partners, and cancer survivors to build and activate an ambitious public health campaign to eliminate cervical cancer through education, effective screening, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), and associated treatment. "The goal of making the United States free of cervical cancer is ambitious but eminently achievable. Just like the polio vaccine nearly eradicated polio globally during the 20th century, we now have the opportunity to nearly eliminate cervical cancer collectively through screening, vaccination and treatment," said Jennifer S. Smith, PhD, Director of CCFA.

The launch brought together over 100 organizations that will work together to share ideas on how to eradicate cervical cancer and to discuss the impact that new research and recent health policy has on this goal. HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, MD, Senator Kay Hagan, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Howard Coble and several supporters from CDC and NCI among others gave keynote remarks of support for Cervical Cancer-Free America.

"We now have the tools that could essentially eradicate cervical cancer. It is time to shift our focus from a primary emphasis on research to a primary emphasis on public health implementation. We can and must do better," said John Schiller, PhD, Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research.

CCFA currently has statewide partner programs in Alabama, California, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Texas. These states encompass thirty percent of all cervical cancer cases in the United States alone. The multi-state initiative calls for partners to plan and develop statewide projects, interventions and education programs. These actions are based on the Carolina Framework, developed by the founding partner, Cervical Cancer-Free North Carolina.

To get involved and for more information on Cervical Cancer-Free America visit www.cervicalcancerfreeamerica.org.

About Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that three out of four adults will have at some time in their lives. Guidelines recommend HPV vaccines, which target the two types of HPV responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers, for adolescent girls and young women from ages 11 through 26.However, only one in four young adolescent females has received the recommended three doses of HPV vaccine. HPV vaccination does not protect against all HPV types that can cause cervical cancer. Thus, women who have been vaccinated still need to be screened.

The Pap test, the traditional screening test for cervical cancer can detect cervical cancer when it is still treatable and also detects pre-cancers which prevents as well as detects early. At least half of all cervical cancer deaths are due to lack of regular screening, yet an estimated 25 percent of women in the U.S. have not been screened in the last three years. The Pap test has led to a dramatic decrease in cervical cancer rates in the U.S. and is recommended for women ages 21 and older. About one third of cervical cancer deaths, however, are caused by screening errors with the Pap test, a problem that more sensitive HPV tests could help address.

About Cervical Cancer-Free America
Cervical Cancer-Free America is a multi-state initiative that is implementing a broad public health strategy to eliminate cervical cancer through vaccination and effective screening. The initiative is led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Public Health. Since its inception in January 2010, CCFA has been the catalyst for cervical cancer-free initiatives in the states of North Carolina, Alabama, California, Kentucky, Indiana and Texas which currently covers 30 percent of all cervical cancer cases in the U.S. The national launch for the Cervical Cancer-Free America initiative aims to expand its partnerships and reach across states and the nation. For more information, please visit www.cervicalcancerfreeamerica.org.

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CONTACTS:
Ramona DuBose
Cervical Cancer-Free America
919-966-7467
Ramona_Dubose@unc.edu

Kendra Kojcsich
Porter Novelli
202-973-2919
Kendra.Kojcsich@porternovelli.com

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