To the Editor:
International Women’s Day is about celebrating women and lifting them up. Right now, women in low- and middle-income countries are facing a cervical cancer crisis simply because of where they live. But Congress can do something about it. We can change the narrative and help ensure that, when it comes to cervical cancer, where you live doesn’t determine if you live.
For the first time, we can end death from cervical cancer worldwide. We’re on our way to doing it here in the U.S., where we have cut the cervical cancer death rate by more than half in the last 30 years. But in low- and middle-income countries, it’s a very different story. There, more than 750 women die each day from this disease. These deaths are preventable. So I’m using International Women’s Day to urge Congressman Langevin to stand up for these women.
Currently, less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. global health budget goes toward cervical cancer services. By prioritizing funding to ensure women and girls in low- and middle-income countries have access to the tools we’ve seen work to reduce death from this disease in the U.S. – HPV vaccinations, screening and treatment – we can save lives and eliminate deaths from this disease. This is a historic opportunity and one we can’t let pass us by.
I’m calling on Congress to prioritize funding to help get this job done. Women around the world simply can’t wait.
The author is an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer.