Women, power and cancer:

A Lancet Commission

The vaccination of a generation


Season 1, Ep. 4


Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced an ambitious plan: to create a ‘cervical cancer-free future’. The potential reward is huge. If we succeed, cervical cancer will become the first cancer to be ‘eliminated’ on this scale.


Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women - 99% of cases worldwide are caused by a few high-risk strains of a common virus called human papillomavirus and in many countries around the world, people are given a vaccine to prevent HPV at an early age.


Despite data from countries like Sweden and the UK showing that vaccination programmes reduce cervical cancer rates dramatically, there are still countries - such as the USA - that don't have universally accessible programmes.


We hear from Dr Ishu Kataria - Public Health Researcher at RTI International, whose work into non-communicable diseases has found her working with the UN and WHO. Right now, she and her team are working out how to get the HPV vaccine to more than 70 million girls in India.


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