We are an international, multi-disciplinary expert group dedicated to increasing cervical cancer screening participation.

Our Mission

Increasing cervical cancer screening participation among under-screened women

The Advancing Cervical CancEr ScreeningS (ACCESS) International Consensus Group on Cervical Cancer is committed to improving the health outcomes of under-screened women by increasing cervical cancer screening participation among this underserved population.

Our aim is to provide policymakers with the latest information and direction on cervical cancer screening, as well as share international best practices, so they can make decisions based on real-world programmatic experience and the best evidence available. The goal is to turn the tide and reverse the decline in screening uptake by supporting under-screened women and ensuring they have optimal access to this vital cancer prevention tool.

Why is this important?

Cervical cancer is the fourth most commonly occurring cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women.1 However, it is preventable through vaccination and screening and can be treated if detected early. There is also the prospect of eliminating cervical cancer entirely through effective use of these prevention tools.

The adoption of national cervical cancer screening programmes within high-income countries has led to a reduction in cervical cancer rates by up to 80%.2 Research in Europe has shown that women receiving regular screening decrease their risk of dying by up to 92% compared to women who are not screened regularly.3

Despite these successes, participation rates in screening programmes remain sub-optimal. Women considered to be under-screened are at risk of avoidable disease and mortality.1,4 This highlights a critical need for action.5

ACCESS Consensus Group Members

The ACCESS International Consensus Group on Cervical Cancer is made up of experts with a broad range of experience and expertise in women’s health — focussing on cervical cancer from clinical, epidemiological, academic, patient, and advocacy perspectives. Together, we work to review the latest available evidence that supports optimal cervical cancer screening strategies in high-income countries with organised cervical cancer screening programmes and make recommendations to relevant stakeholders and policymakers to advance women’s health by increasing the uptake of screening amongst under-screened women.

Professor Philippe Descamps
Professor Philippe Descamps

Chair (France)

Q

Professor Philippe Descamps: Chair (France)

Professor Descamps is a Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has been the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Angers University Hospital in France since 1999. He is also the Director of the Regional Reference Centre for Endometriosis, Endo Ref-Angers.

Professor Descamps is the Vice President of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and was elected as the French representative to the FIGO Council (2015 – 2021). He has sat on the Minimal Access Surgery Committee (2018 – 2021) and was a member of FIGO’s Strategic Planning Committee (2020 – 2021).

At a national level, he has supported the French National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF) by serving as the President of its International Relations Committee (2012 – present) and a member of its Board and Bureau (2005 – present). He was also the Vice President of the French Society of Gynaecological and Pelvic Surgery (SCGP) between 2011 and 2021.

Q

Martin Hunt: Co-Chair (United Kingdom)

Martin has a clinical background as a Qualified Nurse and Psychotherapist. He has been a Manager and Director in the NHS, Charitable and private sectors and is currently the Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, based in London. He brings with him significant experience of working collaboratively across sectors in order to maximise reach and impact. Having recently had a close family member affected by cervical cancer, he also has personal passion to drive the movement towards the elimination of the disease across the world.

Dr. Francesc Xavier Bosch
Dr. Francesc Xavier Bosch

Spain

Q

Dr. Francesc Xavier Bosch (Spain)

Dr. Bosch is a Senior Consultant for the Institute d’Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL) as well as an Honorific Consultant to the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) at Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona, Spain. He is the founder of both the Papillomavirus Research (PVR) journal and the e-learning platform, www.eoncologia.net, specialising in e-courses on cervical cancer prevention.

Dr. Bosch’s epidemiological studies on cancers linked to infectious agents have played a catalytic role for the initiation of the vaccine trials and programs for HBV and HPV, as well as for the evaluation of HPV tests as screening tools. His interests now reside in sharing clinically important scientific information and in studies that integrate HPV vaccination and screening in environments with limited resources.

Dr. Bosch has published over 500 original publications, over 25 monograph books & major reviews, and has over 900 scientific communications at medical meetings.

Professor Maria Kyrgiou
Professor Maria Kyrgiou

United Kingdom

Dr. Joseph Monsonego
Dr. Joseph Monsonego

France

Q

Dr. Anne Connolly (United Kingdom)

Dr. Connolly is a General Practitioner with a special interest in gynaecology. She is a Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) women’s health clinical champion and Chair of Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF).

She was the Royal College of the Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care (FSRH) VP (membership) from 2012-17 and is co-editor of Women’s Health in Primary Care.

Dr. Connolly was awarded an MBE for her work in women’s health in the 2021 Queens Birthday Honours List.

Q

Professor Maria Kyrgiou (United Kingdom)

Professor Kyrgiou is a Consultant Gynaecologic Oncologist at the West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre in the UK. She completed her PhD Thesis and MSc in advanced gynaecological endoscopy.

Professor Kyrgiou also runs an independent research group and research programme at Imperial College London focusing on translational research in gynaecological cancers and clinical trials. She has authored 162 publications in peer-review journals, book chapters, and reviews. She has chaired both national and international meetings, including the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO), the British Gynaecological Cancer Society (BGCS), and the International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (IFCPC), the European Federation of Colposcopy (EFC), International HPV Conference (workshop), the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (BSCCP), Canadian Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Quebec), International College of Outpatient Gynaecology (ICOG), The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the Hellenic Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (HSCCP) in the UK, Ireland, Greece, France, Poland, and Canada.

Q

Dr. Joseph Monsonego (France)

Dr. Monsonego is a Gynaecologist based in Paris, France, where he specialises in colposcopy and in the management of HPV associated diseases.

He attended the Medical University of Paris and is the former Head of the Onco-Gynaecological and Breast Screening Unit (Paris Nord University, Department of Professor Lucien Israël – Bobigny). His institutional affiliations include Medical Director of Institut of the Cervix Paris, France; Member of the President and Founder of EUROGIN (European Research Organization on Genital Infection and Neoplasia); Expert Consultant on Cancer for the World Health Organization (WHO/OMS); and President of the international Women Against Cervical Cancer (WACC) Foundation.

Dr. Monsonego’s specialist areas of research include: Management of abnormal pap smear and papillomavirus infection, Cervical cancer screening and prevention, Colposcopy and treatment of genital papillomavirus lesions, Clinical trials of HPV vaccines, Prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for human papillomavirus infections, Screening for cervical cancers, colposcopy, and drugs for the treatment of HPV-related lesions, and new technologies applied to cervical cancer screening and management, such as HPV DNA testing and genotyping, liquid-based cytology, real-time screening methods, and molecular markers.

Ody Neisingh
Ody Neisingh

Netherlands

Q

Ody Neisingh (Netherlands)

Ody is an independent consultant and Public Affairs Advisor, with extensive working experience at WOMEN Inc. based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where she works in a policy advisory role and is an advocate in the field of gender equality. She had also undertaken a similar role at UN Women and is currently a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on behalf of gender equality and civil society, issuing consensus-based opinions on European legislation.

A former senior expert on women’s economic empowerment at UN Women, her areas of interest include governmental policy on employment and social affairs, human rights, and inclusivity.

Dr. Lananh Nguyen
Dr. Lananh Nguyen

Canada

Q

Dr. Lananh Nguyen (Canada)

Dr. Nguyen is the Director of Cytopathology at Unity Health Toronto, Canada. She is also an Assistant Professor and Associate Graduate Faculty Member at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Nguyen is affiliated with several professional associations including the Canadian Association on Neuropathologists (CANP), Ontario Medical Association (OMA), and American Society of Cytopathology (ASC). She has been Vice-Chair of the Cytopathology Committee and Expert Advisor on the Quality Measures Technical Expert Panel for the College of American Pathologists (CAP). She is also an Expert Consultant to the European Hologic Cervical Health Advisory Board.

Dr. Mairead O’Connor
Dr. Mairead O’Connor

Ireland

Q

Dr. Mairead O’Connor (Ireland)

Dr. O’Connor is a researcher and ICE Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin and has been involved in CERVIVA, a multi-disciplinary research consortium investigating cervical cancer screening and HPV-associated diseases since 2009.

She has over 12 years of experience in planning, coordinating, and conducting research studies underpinned by behavioural science in cancer prevention. Much of her research has focused on understanding the psychological impact of cervical cancer screening on women.

She has collaborated with national and international stakeholders across diverse disciplines and institutions including the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI), the University College Cork (UCC) and the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).

Dr. Jennifer Susan Smith
Dr. Jennifer Susan Smith

United States

Q

Dr. Jennifer Susan Smith (United States)

Dr. Smith is an Epidemiology Professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, North Carolina.

She is also affiliated with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC Center for Aids Research, and the UNC Center for Women’s Health Research.

Additionally, Dr. Smith has conducted research on HPV infection and associated cervical neoplasia and cancer since 1995 and has published over 200 articles in international peer-reviewed journals. Her current research focuses on epidemiological studies of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer worldwide (primarily in China, Kenya, South Africa, and North Carolina), with a focus on prevention via screening, HPV self-screening, and prophylactic vaccines.

Dr. Smith is currently conducting self-screening demonstration projects of HPV infection among high-risk women in Mombasa, Kenya, and in rural North Carolina.

Recommendations

For the first time ever, we have the opportunity to eliminate a type of cancer. For high-income countries with organised screening and vaccination programmes, cervical cancer elimination is a realistic possibility in the coming years. We have the tools to prevent cervical cancer, but low uptake rates of preventative measures means that we risk going backwards rather than forwards. Screening is the most impactful intervention to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in the short term, but screening participation rates are sub-optimal in many high-income countries, and, in some cases, they have even been declining.

Some of the lowest-income women in the most disadvantaged communities are at the greatest risk from cervical cancer, partly as a result of lower rates of screening participation. Urgent action is needed to address low and declining screening participation rates and to stop women dying from this largely preventable disease. There is a particular need for initiatives targeted at under-screened groups to address this inequity.

The Advancing Cervical CancEr ScreeningS (ACCESS) International Consensus Group on Cervical Cancer, a multi-disciplinary group of leading experts in the field, calls on governments and healthcare authorities to:

1. Develop cervical cancer national elimination plans with goals for elimination by a defined date, including ambitious national screening programme participation targets at the population level

2. Implement targeted and culturally-relevant education, information and awareness-raising initiatives, particularly focused on under-screened women

3. Improve the accessibility of cervical cancer screening

4. Support healthcare professionals to increase participation in cervical cancer screening

5. Encourage and support the creation of national cervical cancer patient advocacy groups and national cervical cancer prevention coalitions

6. Ensure that health insurance appropriately covers screening in all high-income countries

Contact Us

For any queries regarding the work of the group, expressions of interest to join the group or to become a sponsor, please contact secretariat@accesscg.org.

The work of the ACCESS Consensus Group is supported by Hologic. Hologic has no editorial control over the content produced by the group.

References

1 Sung H, et al. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71(3):209-249.
2 Fuzzell LN, et al. Cervical cancer screening in the United States: Challenges and potential solutions for underscreened groups. Prev Med. 2021 Mar;144:106400.
3 Jansen EEL, et al. Effect of organised cervical cancer screening on cervical cancer mortality in Europe: a systematic review. Eur J Cancer. 2020 Mar;127:207-223.
4 Serrano B, et al. Worldwide use of HPV self-sampling for cervical cancer screening. Prev Med. 2022 Jan;154:106900.
5 Gianino MM, et al. Organized screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer in 17 EU countries: trajectories of attendance rates. BMC Public Health 18, 1236 (2018).