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Australia continues push to eliminate cervical cancer


Paul Hayes


17/11/2021 4:24:04 PM

The Federal Government has pledged almost $6 million towards the goal of eliminating the disease by 2035.

Cervical screening kit.
The WHO plan to eliminate cervical cancer includes vaccination, screening and treatment targets.

The Federal Government has marked Cervical Cancer Elimination Day of Action 2021 by committing $5.8 million towards becoming the first nation in the world to achieve this lofty goal.
 
The funding commitment will go to support the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (formerly VCS Foundation), which has been engaged to develop a National Cervical Cancer Elimination Strategy (the strategy) by the end of 2022.
 
The strategy aligns with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem globally by the end of the century.
 
The WHO plan sets out a ‘triple-intervention’ approach, which includes vaccination, screening and treatment targets to place all countries on the path toward elimination by 2030.
 
Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program encourages a five-yearly test that checks for human papillomavirus (HPV) before cancerous cells develop. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt describes the program as a ‘game-changer’.
 
‘In the program’s 30 years it has halved the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality in Australia,’ Minister Hunt said. ‘We, however, do not rest on our laurels, there is more work to be done.
 
‘Our government continues to work to ensure as many people as possible engage with the support available, particularly by ensuring access and equity in under-screened groups.’
 
Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer executive director Professor Marion Saville thanked the Government for its commitment to a significant healthcare goal.
 
‘This funding represents a major and important contribution to the health of women and people with a cervix across Australia,’ she said.
 
‘We are looking forward to working in partnership with stakeholders across the health sector and community to continue building on Australia’s considerable successes in preventing cervical cancer.’
 
In an effort to make screening less invasive, Minister Hunt recently announced that from 1 July 2022 Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to offer self-collection to all women and people with a cervix.
 
The self-collection pathway is currently only available to women aged 30 years or older, who have never had an HPV test or Pap test, or who are two or more years overdue.
 
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