Cancer Council NSW announces new life-changing research

The Cancer Council NSW has revealed Australia is on track to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer by 2035.

New research has given hope to women across the country who, in 20 years, the Cancer Council says will never have to worry about cervical cancer. Here’s what you need to know.

Research

Cancer Council NSW has recently shown if current vaccination and screening levels are maintained, there will be a visible drop in the rate of diagnosis.

By 2022, it is estimated that the rate of diagnosis will be 6 out of 100,000 people – classifying cervical cancer as a rare cancer.

Then by 2035, the cancer rate will be 4 or less for every 100,000 people, which by the terms of the World Health Organisation (WHO), deems the cancer eliminated.

The Director of Research at Cancer Council NSW, Professor Karen Canfell, commented on WHO’s call to action to increase global vaccination and screening for cervical cancer, saying it will reduce mortality rates and the rate of diagnosis.

“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,” Professor Canfell said.

Where are we now?

In 2017, the new five-yearly HPV cervical screening test for women aged 25-74 replaced the biannual Pap Smear test for women aged 18-69 throughout Australia.

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, HPV (which stands for human papillomavirus) is a common sexually transmitted disease and usually goes away by itself. However, it can sometimes cause other serious illnesses.

The new test aims to make women aware if they have HPV, a virus which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. The new test is set to lower cases of cervical cancer across the nation by around 20%.

Professor Canfell has emphasised the importance for women to continue to be involved in the National Cervical Screening Program and to stress the benefits of having both boys and girls vaccinated against HPV.

The new screening program encourages women to have their first screening at 25 and then every five years after that.

“Those who have previously had the Pap Smear 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,” Professor Canfell said.