Australia is on track to eliminate cervical cancer thanks to your support!
New research released by Cancer Council shows that Australia could further reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality by expanding the availability of HPV screening on a self-collected sample.
Australia has been leading the way in the public health innovations that support cervical cancer elimination and this new study reinforces a new approach to cervical screening could be offered to all women where they can choose, if they wish, to take their own sample.
This research was made possible thanks to the generous support of Chargers like you and your friends, family, and colleagues.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the cause of almost all cervical cancers.
Through the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), HPV self-collection is currently only offered to women who have never participated in cervical screening or are two or more years overdue. Cancer Council's latest research shows self-collection could be offered more widely, and potentially as an equal choice for all Australian women.
In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a strategy for the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem. Australia has been at the forefront of cervical cancer prevention and control for decades and is on track to be the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer, by 2030.
“While Australia has one of the lowest rates of cervical cancer in the world, we know there are many women not participating in the screening program, and it's these women who are at the greatest risk of developing invasive cervical cancer. - Dr. Megan Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Council NSW
Self-collection is an alternative way of collecting the samples required for testing for HPV which a woman can do herself. This less invasive approach to the standard speculum procedure could help overcome the barriers some women experience to having clinician-collected cervical screening.
The study shows offering all women the option to collect their own sample would be an effective approach to further reduce cervical cancer incidence, by helping to reach more women who are not participating in screening currently.
“The evidence shows self-collection testing is as accurate as testing on a clinician-collected sample. Healthcare providers can offer self-collection to women who are aged 30 and over and are either currently at least two
years overdue for their cervical screening or have never screened before. This new study will support offering all Australian women the option to take their own sample in the future".
- Professor Marion Saville, Executive Director, VCS Foundation
“Our research shows offering self-collection to all women through the NCSP would be an effective approach to further reduce cervical cancer incidence by helping to reach more women who are not participating in screening currently”.
"While not available to all women just yet, we want the women who are overdue or have never participated in screening to know that this option is there, and they should ask their healthcare provider about it”
- Dr. Kate Simms, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Council NSW
The pathway to cervical cancer elimination in Australia
VCS created Australia’s first cervical screening register
Australia introduces National Cervical Screening Program
Prof. Ian Frazer with support of Cancer Council develop HPV Vaccine
Australia first to introduce a national HPV vaccination program
Routine school-based vaccination of adolescent girls; two-year catch up all women aged up to 26 years through GP
VCS: HPV Vaccination Program Register established by VCS
Research: Australian world-first data shows a decline in genital warts
Research: Aus cervical cancer incidence rates in women aged 25+ halved due to screening program
Research: Australian world-first data shows a decline in cervical precancer
Research: Australian world-first data shows a decline in HPV infection
Australia introduced vaccination for adolescent males
Research: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - precancerous abnormalities have now dropped by 41% nationally in women aged 20-24 years
Research: evidence demonstrates that primary HPV screening is more effective than cytology in Australia Renewal of NCSP; HPV self-collection becomes joins Pathways
Next-generation nonavalent vaccine was introduced Australian Immunisation Register incorporates HPV vaccination data from VCS HPV register
Research: published in Lancet Public Health Cervical Cancer likely to be eliminated within 20 years (Cancer Council NSW)
WHO: call for action toward achieving the global elimination of cervical cancer
Australia predicted to become the first country to approach cervical cancer elimination
Research: The projected timeframe until cervical cancer elimination in Australia: a modelling study (Cancer Council NSW)
WHO adopts Australian resolution strategy and announces global elimination strategy
Research: Less invasive cervical screening could be offered to all women
Each year, around 900 women in Australia are diagnosed with cervical cancer and around 250 women die from it. The vast majority of these cancers and deaths are preventable.
While Australia is very close to reaching the WHO elimination threshold of fewer than four cases per 100,000 women, there is more work to be done to ensure that elimination is a reality for all women in Australia.
If you are overdue or have never been screened, it is important to get tested. Although self-collection is not yet available to all women, many women are eligible – ask your healthcare provider about it.
Women aged 30 or older who haven’t had a screening test in the last four years are eligible for self-collection now.