Cervical cancer is one of the most common diseases of the female reproductive organs. In Africa, cervical cancer is one of the most widespread cancers. The number of cervical cancer cases is particularly high south of the Sahara. There, there is often a lack of knowledge among the population, but above all a lack of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), adequate screening measures for early detection and, in particular, medical equipment and treatment. For this reason, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more women die of cervical cancer on the African continent than of breast cancer.
At the international symposium "Global Women's Health and Cervical Cancer Prevention - The Sub-Saharan Africa Perspective", leading experts presented new findings and experiences from research on cervical cancer prevention and its implementation in sub-Saharan Africa. The goal was to discuss innovative and feasible methods to achieve the WHO goal of eliminating cervical cancer in countries with a high burden of disease in sub-Saharan Africa.
The symposium, which was spearheaded by the Chair of Epidemiology of Prof. Dr. Stefanie Klug, was held at the TUM Science & Study Center in Raitenhaslach on June 23 and 24, 2022. Prof. Dr. Juliane Winkelmann, Executive Vice President for International Alliances and Alumni at TUM, Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, Dean of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, and Prof. Klug were present at the beginning of the event with greetings.
Afterwards, a total of three keynote lectures were held: Prof. Dr. Karen Canfell, Director of the Daffodil Center in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, spoke on "Cervical Cancer Prevention: Elimination Goals." Prof. Ruanne Barnabas, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard University, spoke on "Considerations for HPV Vaccination in Low and Middle-income Countries." In addition, Prof. Joakim Dillner, M.D., department head at the Center for Cervical Cancer Prevention and director of research and development at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, spoke on "Primary HPV Screening - Today and Tomorrow."
Various sessions were also held on the current state of research (chaired by Dr. John Amuasi), innovation and the future of early detection (chaired by Prof. Dr. Dr. Andrea Winkler), and management and treatment of cervical cancer (chaired by Prof. Dr. Marion Kiechle).
The diverse and interesting program was rounded off by a panel discussion with invited experts on "Lessons Learned: Initiation of a Cervical Cancer Prevention Project in Ghana", moderated by Prof. Klug and Dr. Luana Fiengo Tanaka, research associate at the Department of Epidemiology.
"During our successful symposium in Raitenhaslach, we discussed hurdles and opportunities for cervical cancer prevention in sub-Saharan Africa and considered how we can contribute to efforts to eliminate cervical cancer in the region. It was an honor and privilege to host and meet with leading experts in the field of cervical cancer," said Dr. Tanaka.
In addition to attending in person, those interested were able to dial in via Zoom as part of a hybrid event format.
"Our symposium was a great success and will greatly help us advance new international projects and collaborations in sub-Saharan Africa in the future. It clearly supported our goal of initiating scientific projects to eliminate cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, it was very good for the exchange to be able to hold such an event again and to meet all colleagues in person," summarizes Prof. Klug after the symposium.
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Klug
Chair of Epidemiology
phone: 089 289 24950
Dr. Luana Fiengo Tanaka
Chair of Epidemiology
phone: 089 289 24960
Text: Romy Schwaiger
Photos: Chair of Epidemiology