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APEC honors Chinese expert with Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese expert has been awarded the 2020 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize for her research to prevent cervical cancer.

Zhao Fanghui, director of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology, National Cancer Center and Cancer Hospital with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, was awarded for her research to prevent cervical cancer through comprehensive analysis on cervical cancer prevention in lower-middle income economies to make it more accessible and affordable, APEC Women and the Economy Forum said in a statement on Friday.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, it is also preventable with effective vaccination and secondary prevention approaches, including screening. Early detection and management is key to successful cervical cancer treatment.

"APEC economies face challenges in availability, accessibility and affordability to cervical cancer screening, disproportionately affecting low-income women at high risk," said Zhao.

"Cervical cancer remains one of the gravest avoidable medical threats to women's lives," she added. "Developing and validating affordable and easy-to-access technologies and strategies are the key solution. By applying effective preventative methods, no woman should die from cervical cancer."

Zhao was announced the winner during the virtual High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy meeting on Wednesday by Malaysia's Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Rina Harun.

Rina Harun said it is incumbent upon policymakers to identify data-backed policies that alleviate the double burden women currently face, "because we all benefit when women participate in the economy."

Launched in Chile last year, the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize recognizes the winners' work which enables policymakers and business leaders to identify and implement measures to improve women's health in APEC economies so women can join and rise in the workforce.