Australia Could Virtually Eradicate Cervical Cancer In Less Than 50 Years

Australia To Become Cervical Cancer Free by 2028 Reveals a New Study

Australia To Become Cervical Cancer Free by 2028 Reveals a New Study

Impending changes which will see screenings look for the cancer-causing HPV virus, are being blamed for the backlog.

In just two years, cervical cancer could be officially considered a rare cancer in Australia, with six new cases per 100,000 women annually.

The study predicted that annual cases in Australia would drop to four in 100,000 by 2035 - a potential elimination threshold, the researchers suggested. This four in 100,000 figure could be achieved by 2021 but the researchers say 2028 is a more reasonable and more probable estimate.

Australia could be the first country in the world to effectively eradicate cervical cancer if current vaccination and screening rates are maintained, according to a research in public health journal "the Lancet" published on Wednesday.

Last year, Australia replaced its routine screening standards for the cancer - a pap smear examination - with more sensitive HPV cervical screening tests.

This optimistic forecast is the result of introducing world-leading national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for schoolchildren a decade ago.

In 2007 the free national HPV vaccination program was first introduced to Australian school going girls and in 2013 it was expanded to boys. By 2100 there would be just 3 deaths per million women as compared the current death rate that is 260 deaths each year today, or 21 deaths per million.

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Cervical cancer is diagnosed in more than half a million women yearly, and the disease kills a quarter of a million women, mostly in low and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.

They did add however that this progress depends on the continuation of screening and vaccination initiatives in the country.

Cancer Research UK said it understood the challenge the NHS was facing ahead of the HPV switch, but said it was important for turnaround times to be reduced "as quickly as possible".

With Sydney playing host to the International Papilloma Virus Conference this week, Canfell will now present the findings of the Cancer Council's research to her counterparts in the global medical community in the hope of kick-starting similar programs in other nations.

"There are constant advancements in cervical cancer prevention and Australia has been ahead of the United Kingdom in adopting many of them, this means they are well and truly on the path to eliminating cervical cancer", said Robert Music, Chief Director of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust in the UK.

There's been a 50 per cent reduction in cervical cancer cases in Australia since the introduction of the Pap smear in 1991. The new test can find cell abnormalities from HPV infections before these have surfaced and is expected to lower mortality and cervical cancer cases by 20% according to the study.

Cervical cancer screening is available in nearly all the countries of the region, with Pap tests most commonly used.

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