National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week: 11-17 November 2019
As part of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, we're urging women in WA to make an appointment for a Cervical Screening Test if they are due or overdue.
Our Cancer Prevention and Research Director, Melissa Ledger said, "We need to encourage all women to have a Cervical Screening Test every five years as four out of five women who develop cervical cancer have either never screened or do not screen regularly."
All women aged between 25 and 74 years who have ever been sexually active need to have regular Cervical Screening Tests as part of their ongoing health and wellbeing checks.
Encouraging new research has revealed Australia is set to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer following the success of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination program and the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.
New research from Cancer Council NSW published in The Lancet Public Health last month shows that if vaccination and screening coverage are maintained at their current rates, cervical cancer is likely to be eliminated as a public health issue within 20 years.
The new research predicts that cervical cancer rates will drop to less than 6 in 100,000 by 2022 - meaning that it will soon be considered a rare cancer. Rates will continue to drop further, dropping below 4 in 100,000 by 2035. These findings indicate that Australia is on-track to be the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer by successfully implementing a combined approach to vaccination and screening.
Australia transitioned to a new five-yearly HPV cervical screening test for those aged 25-74 from last year, replacing the old two-yearly Pap test previously offered from ages 18-69 years. The new test looks for the presence of HPV, the virus that causes almost all cervical cancers, and is expected to lower cervical cancer cases and mortality by at least 20%.
Melissa said, "To achieve elimination, it's vital that women continue to participate in the National Cervical Screening Program and that girls and boys are vaccinated against HPV through the national HPV immunisation program. 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.
"Those who have previously had the Pap 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."
Where can I find more information?
For more information about the new Cervical Screening Test of cancer-related issues, give our Cancer Nurses a call on 13 11 20.