The age-standardised incidence of cervical cancer in Europe varies widely by country (between 3 and 25/100000 women-years) in 2018. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine coverage is low in countries with the highest incidence and screening performance is heterogeneous among European countries. A broad group of delegates of scientific professional societies and cancer organisations endorse the principles of the WHO call to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem, also in Europe. All European nations should, by 2030, reach at least 90% HPV vaccine coverage among girls by the age of 15 years and also boys, if cost-effective; they should introduce organised population-based HPV-based screening and achieve 70% of screening coverage in the target age group, providing also HPV testing on self-samples for nonscreened or underscreened women; and to manage 90% of screen-positive women. To guide member states, a group of scientific professional societies and cancer organisations engage to assist in the rollout of a series of concerted evidence-based actions. European health authorities are requested to mandate a group of experts to develop the third edition of European Guidelines for Quality Assurance of Cervical Cancer prevention based on integrated HPV vaccination and screening and to monitor the progress towards the elimination goal. The occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, having interrupted prevention activities temporarily, should not deviate stakeholders from this ambition. In the immediate postepidemic phase, health professionals should focus on high-risk women and adhere to cost-effective policies including self-sampling.
Keywords: COVID-19; Europe; HPV vaccination; WHO; cervical cancer screening; elimination of cervical cancer.
© 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Cancer published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Union for International Cancer Control.