Great news for women across Australia today.
It’s been revealed that Australia could become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer thanks to the success of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccination program.
According to new research released today by Cancer Council NSW, if vaccination and screening coverage is maintained, cervical cancer rates will drop to less than six in 100,000 by 2022, meaning that it will soon be considered a rare cancer.
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The research predicts rates will continue to drop even further, dropping below 4 in 100,000 by 2035.
Professor Karen Canfell, Director of Research at Cancer Council NSW said The World Health Organization recently called for action to eliminate cervical cancer.
“This is such exciting news for women across Australia,” Professor Canfell said.
“We’ve been leading the way in cervical cancer control for many years and we’ll be sharing our research and approaches with the rest of the world as part of a global push to eliminate this highly preventable cancer.”
Australia transitioned to a new five-yearly HPV cervical screening test for those aged 25-74 from last year, replacing the old two-yearly Pap test previously offered from ages 18-69 years.
The new test looks for the presence of HPV, the virus that causes almost all cervical cancers, and is expected to lower cervical cancer cases and mortality by at least 20%.
Professor Canfell said that to achieve elimination, it’s vital that women continue to participate in the National Cervical Screening Program and that girls and boys are vaccinated against HPV through the national HPV immunisation program.
“Under the new screening program, women should have their first screening test at age 25 and then every five years, if no high risk HPV is detected,” she said.
“Those who have previously had the Pap test should have their next cervical screening test two years after their last Pap test, after which point they can move to five-yearly screening.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) October 2, 2018