Australia could eradicate cervical cancer within 20 years if high-coverage HPV vaccination and screening is maintained, suggests a new study in the Lancet Public Health.
Australia, the first country to introduce a national HPV vaccination programme in 2007, has high vaccine coverage across both sexes and recently switched to primary HPV testing to screen for cervical cancer.
This modelling study identifies the earliest years when the annual age-standardised incidence of cervical cancer in Australia (currently seven cases per 100,000 women) could decrease below two potential elimination thresholds; six new cases per 100,000 women (rare cancer threshold) or a lower threshold of four new cases per 100,000 women.
The researchers estimate that the rare cancer threshold could be reached by 2020 (range 2018-2022), with the lower threshold reached by 2028 (2021-2035).
By 2066 (2054-2077), the annual incidence should be less than one case per 100,000 women if HPV screening every five years continues for cohorts offered the nonavalent vaccine, or around three cases per 100,000 if cohorts are not screened, the authors estimate.
Cervical cancer mortality is estimated to decrease to less than one death per 100,000 annually by 2034 (2025-2047), even if future screening is only offered to older cohorts not offered the nonavalent vaccine.