Cervical Cancer-Free America

Partners and Programs in the Spotlight

One of the many organizations that were very active in January for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month was Cervical Cancer-Free America (CCFA). CCFA was founded in 2010 to prevent cervical cancer in the United States through encouraging HPV vaccination and screening, and continuity to treatment, according to national guidelines.

Employing a model of engaging state and local partners, the nonprofit group expanded its activities to the Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition (CCFC) in order to highlight activities of country-level partnerships across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with the goal of preventing cervical cancer across the globe.

Although preventing cervical cancer has become a global effort for CCFC, the core of the organization is still rooted in the power of local engagement. “Solutions to cervical cancer prevention are local,” said Jennifer Smith, director of CCFA. “It’s all about local people doing local policy and implementation activities to prevent a highly preventable cancer that unnecessarily kills over 250,000 women every year globally.”

Local coalition building and partnerships are a big part of CCFA’s local initiatives. CCFA maximizes the value of these partnerships and coalitions through linking groups together that wouldn’t normally interact. For instance, on the state-level, CCFA states have linked cancer groups with pediatricians to educate pediatricians on the importance of preventing HPV cancers in the preteen years with HPV vaccine.

As a highlight to their newsletters, CCFA includes life stories from cervical cancer survivors on how cervical cancer affected them to encourage parents to vaccinate their preteens against HPV cancers.

Since CCFA was founded, 12 states have become Cervical Cancer-Free states including: Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and recently Massachusetts. “Other interested US states and countries, and organization partners, are welcome to join the coalition,” said Smith.

Each CCFA state tailors its program to the specific needs of the people in their state, and states are encouraged to identify and share lessons learned in their state to other CCFA state partners to help improve vaccination and screening rates in all CCF states.

In addition to state partners, CCFA also partners with 20 different organizations ranging from the American Sexual Health Association to the National Cancer Coalition. Ultimately, these partnerships are crucial to CCFA’s efforts to prevent cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer is a cancer that should be prevented, and we can and need to do more to prevent it both domestically and globally,” said Smith.

More information on CCFA.