December 10, 2018

Australia to eliminate cervical cancer by 2035

05 October 2018, 04:57 | Silvia Roy

High-risk types of Human Papilloma Virus can cause cervical cancer. /AGENCIES

High-risk types of Human Papilloma Virus can cause cervical cancer. /AGENCIES

Australia was called the "global front runner in cervical cancer prevention" in the study.

By adopting the action plan, the countries have agreed to improve the effectiveness and organisation of cervical cancer programmes and information and record-keeping systems, and to strengthen primary pre-vention with the HPV vaccine and information/education campaigns.

The Australian Cancer Council said if vaccination and screening rates were maintained, the disease could be eradicated within 20 years.

"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. However, introducing a pap smear test in 1991 proved to be a milestone in the process of curbing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer affects more indigenous women, people of African descent, and people living in less developed areas, as well those with lower socio-economic, educational, and income levels.

The incidence of cervical cancer in Australia now stands at seven cases per 100,000, about half the global average.

The research from Cancer Council NSW states that the most striking step-ups are yet to come, as the first recipients of the early HPV vaccination program reach their mid-thirties.

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The research predicts that cervical cancer rates will drop to less than six in 100,000 by 2022, meaning that it will soon be considered a rare cancer.

Almost all cervical cancers (99.7 percent) are caused by infection from a high risk HPV.

What is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?

"It's not going to happen in my lifetime, but it could happen in the lifetime of my kids if they go about it the right way".

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce a national HPV vaccination program for girls in 2007, and it has since been extended to achieve high vaccination coverage across both sexes, according to the study.

A new test which will look for the cancer-causing HPV virus straight away rather than for abnormal cells in the cervix will be rolled out across the whole of England in 2019.

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They did add however that this progress depends on the continuation of screening and vaccination initiatives in the country. Other research has observed plummeting cases of genital warts.

Although dozens of countries around the world now vaccinate their teenagers from HPV, many are still missing out as even when vaccines are offered at a lower price in developing countries, they remain relatively expensive.

"Cervical screenings prevent 75% of cervical cancers and save more than 5,000 lives every year". And 311,000 women will die from it.

According to the World Health Organization, about nine in 10 deaths from cervical cancer happen in low and middle-income countries.

The latest study also highlighted the importance of continuing the cervical screening regime in Australia, which recently saw the biennial pap smear replaced by HPV screening every five years.

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