Australia is set to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer, aided by its national vaccination and screening programs, says a new study.
In 2007, Australia was one of the first countries to introduce a national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program, and it has since achieved high vaccination coverage across both sexes. In December, 2017, organised cervical screening in Australia transitioned from cytology-based screening every 2 years for women aged from 18–20 years to 69 years, to primary HPV testing every 5 years for women aged 25–69 years and exit testing for women aged 70–74 years. We aimed to identify the earliest years in which the annual age-standardised incidence of cervical cancer in Australia (which is currently seven cases per 100 000 women) could decrease below two annual thresholds that could be considered to be potential elimination thresholds: a rare cancer threshold (six new cases per 100 000 women) or a lower threshold (four new cases per 100 000 women), since Australia is likely to be one of the first countries to reach these benchmarks.
The cancer could be classified as “rare” and not be in as many humans as early as 2022, meeting a threshold of six new cases per 100,000 and deaths due to the diseases are expected to decline to one new case per 100,000 women by 2034.