Australia seeks to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer by 2028

Sydney, Australia, Mar 9 (EFE).- Australia is headed towards becoming the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer by 2028 through screenings, vaccines and treatments.

“Australia is in the process of developing a national cervical cancer elimination strategy that is focussed on ensuring health equity in elimination,” Claire Nightingale, senior research fellow

at Melbourne School of Population and Global Health and subject matter expert, stated Thursday in an email to EFE.

Currently, 6.5 out of every 100,000 women in Australia suffer from cervical cancer, the fourth most common type of cancer among women in the world.

The authorities seek to reduce this rate to 4 cases per 100,000 women in order to declare the “elimination” of the disease.

“Australia is on track to be the first country to achieve this public health feat, which could happen as early as 2028,” according to an article published this week by Nightingale, Tessa Saunders, Megan Smith and Claire Bavor.

The screenings, aimed at detecting the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes 99 percent of cervical cancers, along with vaccines and access to treatment for pre-cancers are strategies recommended by the World Health Organization for the elimination of the disease.

“Importantly, prevention is only part of the story, and we can’t forget the need to strengthen the capacity to provide appropriate treatment for women who already have cervical cancer,” Nightingale told EFE.

However, the goal is subject to various challenges associated with inequality towards women among minority groups, such as indigenous women, immigrants, women with low incomes or sexual minorities who live far from large cities, making it difficult for them to access the screenings, the experts said.

The researchers suggest screening women in the privacy of their homes by collecting vaginal swabs, tests similar to that for Covid-19, according to the article published on the university portal.

“Self-collection is easier, far less invasive, creates a sense of autonomy and removes many barriers associated with undressing, and having a pelvic examination,” Claire said.

Australia, world leader in cervical cancer prevention, implemented its national cervical screening program in 1991, reducing the cancer’s rates by 50 percent in the first decade.

Moreover, the country introduced an HPV vaccination program in 2007 and a decade later in 2017 switched from Pap testing to HPV testing, among other measures. EFE


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