HPV vaccine girl Brazil Pan American Health Organization/Flickr

Otro asesino de mujeres al que hay que vencer

GINEBRA – A lo largo de la historia, el acto de traer nueva vida al mundo siempre supuso para las mujeres un riesgo cierto de morir durante el parto. Pero ahora que los países pobres han hecho grandes avances en reducir ese tipo de muertes, otra amenaza a la salud femenina podría revertir esas mejoras. Por primera vez, la mortalidad anual por cáncer de cuello de útero va camino de superar la derivada del parto.

En parte, esto refleja el éxito del esfuerzo por reducir la mortalidad materna. Desde 1990, la cantidad de mujeres que mueren como resultado del parto se redujo casi a la mitad, a 289 000 por año. Pero en el mismo período, la mortandad anual por cáncer de cuello de útero aumentó casi un 40%, hasta 266 000, y se prevé que seguirá aumentando, contrariando la tendencia a la reducción de la mortalidad materna gracias a las mejoras sanitarias. Se calcula que en 2035 la enfermedad llevará a unas 416 000 mujeres por año a una muerte lenta y dolorosa, casi todas ellas en países en desarrollo (sobre todo en el África subsahariana y el sur de Asia).

Lo más triste es que son muertes casi enteramente evitables. La vacunación contra el virus del papiloma humano (VPH), complementada con la detección temprana y el tratamiento, podría prevenir la inmensa mayoría de los casos de cáncer de cuello de útero. Pero casi el 90% de las mujeres que mueren por esta causa son de países en desarrollo, donde muy a menudo no hay acceso a servicios de detección temprana y menos aún a tratamiento.

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