Alabama launches statewide action plan to eliminate cervical cancer

A new stateside action plan aims to eliminate cervical cancer.
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2023 at 10:26 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Primary care providers and community leaders across Alabama have launched a statewide action plan to eliminate cervical cancer.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the state ranks third in the nation in the incidence and deaths from a cancer that can be prevented cervical cancer. To address this serious public health problem “Operation Wipe Out Cervical Cancer Alabama” was created.

ADPH says the action plan uses evidence-based strategies to promote HPV vaccination, promote cervical cancer screening, and ensure adherence to follow-up in the event of cervical cancer screening abnormal results.

“Right now, Alabama ranks third in the nation for incidence and mortality related to cervical cancer. This is not acceptable. Cervical cancer is preventable, and it is stoppable,” Nancy Wright, Director of the ADPH Cancer Prevention and Control Division, said. “We can do that how three steps First, increase HPV vaccination. Second, increase cervical cancer screening, which is a pap HPV test regularly. Third, appropriate follow-up tests for the screening results that show up with abnormal cells. We can do these three things with the help of parents, physicians, business leaders, community leaders, health departments and academic centers.”

The statewide plan is the result of a summit held in Birmingham in the fall of 2022, where primary care providers and public health leaders representing 42 of the 67 Alabama counties came together to identify barriers, facilitators and solutions to cervical cancer prevention and control in Alabama.

“The launching of the statewide action plan is a historic milestone in the fight against cervical cancer in Alabama,” Wright said. “It is an opportunity for all segments of society to get involved, including parents, physicians, business leaders, community-based organizations, public health systems, and academic centers.”

According to ADPH, HPV vaccinations are a powerful tool to protect children and adolescents before they are exposed to the virus. Cervical cancer screening among women 21 to 65 years of age detects abnormal cells in the cervix which can develop into cancer. Appropriate follow-up and treatment for women with abnormal results improve the chance of recovery from cervical cancer. Specific benchmarks will be monitored toward the achievement of this goal.

“We are living in this really strange time right now where vaccine misinformation is running wild. Vaccines of all kinds are mistrusted by a lot of people,” Alabama State Health Officer. Dr. Scott Harris said. “So, it’s very important to continue to communicate the importance of HPV vaccination, particularly vaccination at the right age for young people so that we can prevent this disease from ever even occurring.”

For more information on the statewide action plan to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem in Alabama, please visit this link.

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