Three hospitals working together to raise awareness of cervical cancer screening in Wallonie
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women aged 25 to 44. At the initiative of Wallonie, CHR Sambre et Meuse, CHU Liège and GHdC Charleroi are joining forces to promote cervical cancer screening, which has been reduced by 25% in recent years in Wallonie.
In Belgium, around 1 in 100 women will develop cervical cancer before the age of 75. Among women aged between 25 and 44, this cancer is the fourth most common cancer.
"This cancer affects around 700 Belgian patients annually with a cure rate of no more than 60%,"
explains Professor Frederic Kridelka, Director of the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Liège University Hospital, spokesperson for the project.
"Nearly 90% of these cancers could be prevented through regular screening. Indeed, this type of cancer develops progressively, starting from precancerous lesions. Systematic smears make it possible to discover and treat suspicious lesions at an early stage."
Cervical cancer is not the most common gynaecological cancer in Belgium, but it is responsible for an average of 190 deaths per year. This mortality is likely to increase if women between 25 and 64 years of age do not have regular screening. For example, in 2008, 643 invasive cervical cancers were recorded, 186 women died, compared to 235 in 2018 for the same number of cancers detected.
To reduce these figures, prevention is a highly effective tool. Unfortunately, it should be noted that between 2008 and 2017, cervical cancer screening fell by 25% in Wallonie. Moreover, screening is practised all the less as women are older and in a disadvantaged socio-economic situation, which is inequitable.
"Screening is very important and it is painless! It is carried out by a smear test at the patient's doctor or gynaecologist. On this International Cancer Day, we would like to remind all women that they must be screened every three years",
continues Prof. Kridelka.
In order to reduce these figures, CHU Liège, CHR Sambre et Meuse and GHdC Charleroi, grouped together in a consortium, have been commissioned by Région Wallonne to launch a major awareness campaign aimed at women in Wallonie. The objective is twofold: to increase the number of women who undergo regular screening and to improve continuity of care by promoting good care practices.
The objective of Wallonie and the institutions running this campaign is to reduce the incidence and, consequently, the morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer among Walloon women. The general public will be informed and made aware, with particular attention to the most vulnerable groups. A prevention campaign is currently being developed and will be communicated when it has been carried out.