Australian men and women are now able to access the latest information about HPV and vital steps to protect against it, thank to a new online guide launched by Cancer Council this week.
The online guide will alleviate confusion about HPV after the announcement of a new cervical screening program to be launched nationally in late 2017, replacing the two-yearly pap smear test.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the HPV guide reinforced the importance of the Gardasil vaccine and new cervical screening test in saving lives. “Many Australians are confused about what HPV is, how it is transmitted, its relationship to cancer, and how it can be treated,” Ms McMillan said.
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“Our online guide explains the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in detail, including the importance of all young people participating in the full course of the Gardasil vaccination to protect against high-risk types of HPV.
“HPV is a common virus – four out of five people will experience it at some stage of their lives. In most people the infection is harmless and clears up naturally in about one to two years. Occasionally, some types of HPV persist in the body and, if left untreated, can become cancerous.
“HPV does not usually cause symptoms, so people are generally unaware they have it.”
The new cervical screening test will detect HPV before abnormal cell changes occur, helping to prevent cases of cervical cancer and increase survival rates.
Gardasil, has been developed to protect against the two high-risk types of HPV (types 16 and 18), which cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers in women and 90 per cent of all HPV-related cancers in men.
“It’s vital that all Australians understand HPV, and the recommendations for both males and females,” Ms McMillan said. “Girls and boys aged 12–13 years should complete the full course of the HPV vaccine, free of charge, as part of the National HPV Vaccination Program.
“All eligible women should continue participating in the current pap smear screening program until the new test becomes available in late 2017. Men should visit their GP if they notice anything new or unusual such as warts or other growths, lumps, or sores on their penis, scrotum, anus, mouth, or in the throat.”
Cancer Council’s online guide to HPV is available at under the Early Detection tab at cancerqld.org.au.