December 2023

In July 2023 leading patient advocacy groups from across the globe came together at the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in Geneva to discuss both the opportunities to improve and the challenges to cervical cancer screening participation. Hologic brought these groups together to provide insights into how advances in screening can be used for the best possible health outcomes. The collective aim is to drive action in support of the WHO cervical cancer elimination goal by putting the needs of women front and centre in decision making.*
Despite innovations in cervical cancer screening, some women still do not have access to this potentially life-saving test including those where a national screening programme doesn’t exist and those who face barriers to accessing screening for example, difficulty accessing appointments, embarrassment, fear (in some cases related to previous trauma including sexual violence), and a lack of tailored services and limited understanding what the test is for. These women are at higher risk of unnecessary disease and death. In addition, participation in cervical screening programmes is in continuous decline across some high-income countries with established screening programmes.

*Cervical cancer affects women. It can also affect other people born with a cervix who don’t identify as a woman, this includes trans men and / or some nonbinary people. In the interest of space and clarity, we’re using the word woman in this document, however we support everyone who needs us, regardless of gender or sexual identity.


  • As leading patient advocates committed to preventing cervical cancer and saving women’s lives, we will join forces, working together to address the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities to increase cervical cancer screening participation. As with everything we do, we will put the needs of women at the forefront of this initiative.
  • We urge policy and health decision-makers globally to make women’s voices heard by including patient advocacy groups in the development of screening policies, ensuring informed choice through education, and for screening programmes to always put women`s health needs first.
    We call on policy and health decision-makers to take action to improve cervical cancer participation by:
  • Ensuring patient advocacy groups have a seat at the table when policy and implementation strategies are being developed for innovations and advancements in cervical cancer screening.
  • Initiating local pilot projects and research in collaboration with patient and other groups representing women’s voices to understand why some women habitually do not attend cervical cancer screening (under-screened or non-responders) and addressing these needs through nationally funded plans.
  • Strengthening global and local education initiatives to increase understanding of the risks of cervical cancer and the importance of screening.
  • Encouraging and supporting consistent messaging related to cervical cancer across all health touchpoints and education. For example, ensuring the link between HPV and cervical cancer as well as the need for future screening is discussed at vaccination.
  • Ensuring all approaches to improve cervical cancer screening consider the needs of different communities who may be affected disproportionately, for example women living in areas of high deprivation, putting collaboration and co-creation at the centre.
  • Promoting global and national level collaboration and best-practice sharing between all stakeholders, by ensuring critical success factors that have helped increase participation in other countries are sufficiently understood and utilised.
  • Ensuring everyone has access to the highest standards of care which safeguards their health. New screening techniques such as HPV self-sampling could potentially increase screening participation rates among women who are under-screened (non-responders). It is also imperative to only implement approaches backed by high quality evidence on their use in practice and to educate women about the potential trade-offs of HPV self-sampling while more evidence is gathered, for example some real-world studies show a decrease in sensitivity for HPV self-sampling and screening may need to be carried out more often.

Together we are committed to collaborate across borders, engage local communities, and connect health stakeholders to support policy and health decision-makers with the ultimate goal to provide screening programmes and innovations that are fit for purpose and meet real world needs.

Signed by:

  • Association of People Affected by Ovarian Cancer (ASACO), Spain
  • Cervivor, US
  • Engage, Europe
  • HPV Global Action, Canada
  • Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, UK
  • The Eve Appeal, UK
  • TogetHER for Health, US