Australia soon to become world’s first country to eliminate cervical cancer by 2028, says a new study. The country is aided by its national vaccination and screening programs and is on track to meet the threshold of four or less new cases per 100,000 women each year, effectively eliminating the cancer by 2028. The study was published in the Lancet Public Health Journal which found that although global deaths from the disease still exceed 310,000 each year, Australia is heading towards a scenario where cervical cancer would be almost unheard of. HPV Virus Causes 99% of Cervical Cancers! Is HPV Test More Accurate Than Pap Smear in Cancer Screening?
The positive prediction has been largely credited to the introduction of the world-leading national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program for schoolchildren. Research released by Cancer Council shows cervical cancer is on track to be a rare disease by 2022, with rates set to fall to four in 100,000 by 2035. And by 2066, the researchers say, less than one woman per year could receive that diagnosis. 10 Facts About Cancer You Need to Know by World Health Organization (WHO).
Karen Canfell, a cancer epidemiologist and the director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organisation which led the study, said, “Australia is on track to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer. I think this shows the way forward for other countries.” Health minister Greg Hunt said cases have halved since the pap smear was introduced in 1991. “What we’re seeing now is the vaccinations which began in 2007 just beginning to have their impact on younger women, who would otherwise be in the group that might be first developing cervical cancer,” he told ABC radio.
Australia’s national health care system first introduced the vaccination program in 2007 as a cost-free three-dose course for teenage girls. According to the Cancer Council Australia, the vaccination has led to a 77% reduction in the types of HPV most responsible for cervical cancer, as reported by New York Times. Australia now has one of the lowest cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in the world.