NCWO Joins Global Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer


National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO)

NCWO JOINS GLOBAL PEARL OF WISDOM CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT CERVICAL CANCER Coalition Promotes Pearl of Wisdom As Worldwide Symbol of Cervical Cancer Prevention

Washington, D.C. – Jan. 27, 2009 – Marking Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January, the Coalition of Labor Union Women has joined a coalition of women’s health and advocacy organizations in the United States and Europe in a new, united effort to prevent cervical cancer worldwide.

The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer ( will raise awareness of cervical cancer, encourage women to take advantage of the means that are now available to prevent it and work to make sure that these methods are accessible to girls and women around the globe – particularly to the underserved populations that have much higher rates of cervical cancer. A central focus of the campaign is the promotion of the Pearl of Wisdom as the global symbol of cervical cancer prevention, designed to help all groups involved unite behind a core set of messages.

"Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women around the world, killing nearly 300,000 women worldwide each year, however, this disease is almost completely preventable," said NCWO Chair Susan Scanlan."Research has established that cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with a very common virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV), whose presence is seen in 99.7% of all cervical cancers. So, almost every case of cervical cancer is now preventable through organized screening with Pap tests, HPV tests and immunization programs with HPV vaccines."

NCWO plans to support the campaign by incorporating it into its affiliate outreach and health programs.

The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer was started by the European Cervical Cancer Association, or ECCA ( which includes 100 organizations from across Europe. In addition to NCWO, the U.S. partners include the American Medical Women’s Association, the American Social Health Association, the Balm in Gilead, the Global Summit of Women, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, the National Council of Women’s Organizations, the Society for Women’s Health Research, Tamika and Friends, Women In Government, The Yellow Umbrella Organization, and others.

Pearl of Wisdom pins are available at for $6.95 each and are also available in bulk. Proceeds will go to the U.S. Pearl of Wisdom Campaign Fund, dedicated to the support of U.S.-based cervical cancer prevention activities. Visitors can also send "virtual" Pearls of Wisdom to the women in their lives through the website.

"The prevention of cervical cancer is now a realizable goal and the Pearl of Wisdom is the ideal symbol to spread this powerful message. It is my hope that women around the world and, indeed, everyone takes this symbol to heart and supports our united campaign to ultimately eliminate cervical cancer," said Dr. Anne Szarewski, interim president of the ECCA.

About Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. In the U.S., the American Cancer society estimates that 11,070 women will have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3,870 women will have died of the disease in 2008. Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that 3 of 4 adults will have at some time in their lives. Most of these infections go away on their own without treatment. Infections that do not go away on their own can lead to cervical cancer.

A Pap test is the traditional method used for cervical cancer screening. An HPV test identifies women who are infected with high-risk types of HPV that could potentially lead to cervical cancer. Clinical studies suggest that screening with both a Pap test and an HPV test offers women aged 30 and older the best protection against cervical cancer. An HPV vaccine is now FDA-approved for girls and young women ages 9-26. It has been shown to be 100% effective – in women not previously infected – at preventing infection with the two types of HPV that cause approximately 70% of all cervical cancers. HPV vaccination does not protect against all the HPV types that can cause cervical cancer, however, meaning that women who have been vaccinated still need to be screened to protect against the HPV types that are not covered by the vaccine. # # #

Special notes to editors:

Please post a Pearl of Wisdom campaign banner on your website. See:

Special note on programs:

If your organization would like to have a program on cervical cancer prevention at a national event or an event in the field), please be in touch with Carolyn Jacobson (who co-chairs our Women's Health Task Force and heads up a program on this issue, Cervical Cancer Prevention Works, at NCWO-affiliate, the Coalition of Labor Union Women) at 202-507-6901 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .