HPV and Hep B Action Network

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This Focused Topic Network promotes initiatives to eliminate the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) and the hepatitis B virus (HepB).
 
New Council Recommendation on Vaccine-Preventable Cancers Launched 

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The Council of the European Union has adapted a groundbreaking set of recommendations to increase vaccination rates against both the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (Hep B) and combating cancers caused by these two viruses. These measures are crucial for advancing our efforts to prevent cancer across Europe. Read all about them

New Report Published - Making a Difference: Advocating for HPV Policy Change

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HPV has recently become one of the most significant issues in European cancer policy. Effective vaccination and screening programmes are now widely recognised to offer the possibility of eliminating tens of thousands HPV cancers each year in European men and women. In many countries, however, progress is slow and too many lives are being lost unnecessarily.

Advocacy can help to put that right. Organisations and individuals can work together to put effective pressure on decision makers, cut through the inertia, and create cancer prevention services of the type and scale that are urgently needed across the region.

This guide is based on the experience of many of them. It distils the lessons learned into eight essential ingredients for advocacy success. We hope it will be useful not only to the campaigns highlighted in this guide but also to others engaged, or who might yet be engaged, on this vital issue.

Read the publication here.

 

PROTECT-EUROPE
Vaccinating Europe to Protect Against HPV Cancers

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PROTECT-EUROPE is an EU4Health project that champions gender-neutral vaccination programmes in EU Member States. This is essential to prevent HPV cancers, including cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, vulval and oropharyngeal cancers. Read more here.

ECO is coordinating the project and, in consultation with other 33 consortium partners, leads the communication and dissemination package. In March 2024 the PROTECT-EUROPE hub was lunched, containing the latest lessons learned from the project, including peer-reviewed discoveries, best practices, training modules, public awareness tools, and links to an assortment of valuable external resources. See the hub here.

In addition, the project is coordinating ten masterclasses in HPV vaccination, focused on public health messaging and how to more effectively target young people, their parents and caregivers. See here the full list of our masterclasses.

Read more here.

 

HPV Action Now in Europe
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We have launched a new webpage to highlight our HPV efforts across Europe. The European Cancer Organisation's HPV Action Network seeks to eliminate all HPV cancers, following the recommendations in Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. 

To do this, we are actively supporting pilot campaigns in Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria to expand HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.

Please check the page for all relevant updates from these countries.

 

Our Activities for HPV Awareness Day 2024

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On HPV Awareness Day 2024, the European Cancer Organisation held a hybrid meeting to discuss the major outcomes from HPV initiatives developed in Romania, Croatia, and Bulgaria. Furthermore, with the help of the International Papillomavirus Society, new online resources for promoting awareness have been posted.  

 

European Cancer Summit 2023 
Turning Up the Dial - Advancing the Elimination of HPV and Hep B Cancers
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Watch the session recording here and read the full European Cancer Summit 2023 Report to discover the rich and diverse discussions of this session.

 
HPV Change Makers

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The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes a variety of different cancers, often resulting in suffering and death. The tragedy is that almost all these cancers are preventable with a simple vaccine and periodic screening. But how to get governments to offer these services and their citizens to accept them?

Meet some inspiring advocates who have made a powerful case for change in their countries.

 
HPV Testimonies
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HPV Testimonies features personal stories of 10 men and women who have experienced  different HPV cancers. Their stories illustrate how HPV can affect anyone. They reveal the physical and emotional journeys of people as they dealt with their diagnosis and the treatments that followed – the impact on their lives and on those around them, and the challenges of getting back to a ‘normal’ life. As EU member states explore implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, it is essential that decision makers keep the voices of patients front and centre as they make their plans.

 

Latest Network Reports

In February 2023, ECO responded to the European Commission’s Call for Evidence on cancer prevention. The consultation invited public feedback on initiatives to increase the uptake of vaccination against the hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus.

A full list of actions recommended by ECO and more information on the Call for Evidence is available here.

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HPV causes about 5% of all cancers worldwide. The most common of these cancers is cervical but the virus is also implicated in cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, head and neck. Up to 30 percent of HPV cancer cases in Europe occur in men.

Compared to many other cancer prevention strategies – such as tobacco control, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity or tackling obesity – HPV vaccination is easy to deliver, has an immediate positive health impact, and is highly efficacious. In fact, it is probably the single most effective means of cancer prevention in the medical arsenal.

We therefore encourage HPV vaccination programmes in Europe and beyond. If we can achieve a 90% vaccination rate across Europe, we can eliminate HPV cancers in the region.

Read more here.

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There is much work to do if we are to eliminate all HPV cancers. But armed with the vital information contained in this report, we can accelerate action at regional and national levels to ensure that all health systems take the needed action to protect their populations.

If all countries in the region emulated the current best-performers, almost 100,000 cancer cases a year could be prevented. That would be a remarkable achievement and an example for other regions to follow.

Read more here.

 

Position paper on self-sampling and HPV screening in Europe

The HPV Action Network, in collaboration with the Special Network on the Impact of Covid-19 on Cancer, published a position paper on self-sampling and HPV screening in Europe. This argued that offering women the opportunity to collect HPV samples themselves would contribute to a significant increase in cervical cancer screening. Self-sampling is particularly suitable for those who find it hard to access standard screening facilities due to  insufficient or remote facilities, or who have a disability limiting their mobility.

 

Elimination of HPV related cancers is one of the  Flagship initiatives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan 

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EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, presents the elimination of cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) as one of the Flagship initiatives of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan during the #EUCanBeatCancer event: United against Cancer on 3 February 2021. The panel discussion was joined by Dr Matti Aapro, President of the European Cancer Organisation.


The Network's key goals of eliminating all HPV cancers was included by Europe's Beating Cancer Plan launched in February 2021. The plan contains major commitments on gender-neutral HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening proposed in our report Viral Protection: Achieving the Possible. A Four Step Plan for Eliminating HPV Cancers in Europe.

 

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Published in October 2020, the Viral Protection report set out a four-step plan for eliminating HPV cancers in Europe and formed the basis for the Network’s advocacy work on the Beating Cancer Plan. The report called for gender-neutral HPV vaccination programmes and effective cervical cancer screening programmes in all European countries, the adoption of best-practice treatments for all patients with HPV cancers, and improved HPV education and awareness programmes for both patients and health professionals.

There is now an opportunity for all European countries to eliminate HPV cancers.  When vaccination programmes are introduced - whether for girls, boys, or both sexes - the opportunity protect as many young people as possible should be seized.

 
Background

This network was originally launched in 2019 with a single focus on a single virus: the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV Action Network, as it was then called, was issued a clear objective by more than 300 stakeholders attending that year's European Cancer Summit: ‘By 2030, effective strategies to eliminate cancers caused by HPV as a public health problem should be implemented in all European countries.'

The new network's official launch came just a few weeks later at the European Parliament in Brussels with the support of the late Professor Véronique Trillet-Lenoir MEP.

By then the data were undisputable. HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection, causes 5% of all cancers in men and women worldwide and about 2.5% of cancers in Europe. Cervical cancer is the most commonly caused cancer, but HPV is also responsible for a high proportion of anal, penile, vaginal, vulval, and head & neck cancers. An estimated 20% to 30% of HPV cancers affect men. HPV also causes genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare but disabling breathing condition.

In 2023, the European cancer community voted to expand the network's focus to include another virus causing another disease.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is responsible for approximately 55% of all liver cancer deaths and 45% of all deaths due to cirrhosis and other chronic liver disease and results in approximately 64,000 deaths annually.

ECO's new HPV and Hep B Action Network brings together organisations and individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who share the ambitious but highly achievable goal of eliminating all the cancers and other diseases caused by these two ubiquitous viruses.

Follow the HPV and Hep B Action Network’s activities on Twitter @HPVAction.

 

To learn more or to support our work, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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