Project 1: Cervical Cancer

Development of Cervical Cancer Governance Documents for four Pacific Island countries

Investigators: Professor Heather Worth, Dr Karen MacMillan, Associate-Professor Catherine O’Connor, Ms Hilary Gorman.

Funder: UNFPA

This project will research and develop evidence-based policies/plans/strategies that support the elimination of cervical cancer in collaboration with agencies within four Pacific Islands countries and territories: Republic of the Marshall Islands; Samoa; Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The Pacific Islands Forum in 2015 identified cervical cancer as one of the top three regional priorities. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. Almost all cervical cancer cases (99%) are linked to infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV),and HPV vaccination together with secondary prevention approaches (screening for, and treating precancerous lesions) will prevent most cervical cancer cases. While the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have some of the elements of cervical cancer elimination and/or control, few have integrated comprehensive and organized programmes, and each country faces unique challenges in moving towards the elimination of cervical cancer.  While issues in achieving cervical cancer elimination are specific to each country, there is an agreed need for documented governance to synchronise the different programmes’ contributions and activities towards this goal by 2030.