By now, anyone who has come close to the subject of cervical cancer will realize that the disease is a worldwide incidence; that it is the second most important cancer in women; and, that there is an unequal distribution of the disease burden which mostly affects developing countries. It is for this reason that International Vaccine Institute (IVI) held its “First Symposium on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East Regions” in Seoul, Korea, recently. The two-day event convened 150 experts, policymakers, and decision makers from more than 36 countries to develop solutions to expand vaccination programs to fight HPV and its related diseases.
Figures show that in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, there are 1.3 billion women ages 15 years or older at risk of developing cervical cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year there are more than 265,000 cases of cervical cancer in these regions; of these, over 140,000 women die annually. Deaths from cervical cancer in these regions represent over 50 percent of all cervical cancer deaths globally, of which one third stem from Southern Asia.