Vaccine reduces cervical cancer risk for young Australian women

May 2, 2015 11:48 am 

CANBERRA, May 1 — The cervical cancer vaccine has halved the rate of cancer-causing abnormalities in Australian females aged under 20 as the results of a nationwide vaccination program begin to be realized, medical authorities said on Friday.

The rates of abnormalities in women aged 20-24 have also dropped 23 percent since the vaccine was introduced in 2007, a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) showed.

australia implemented a nationwide school vaccination program for human papillomavirus (HPV), the biggest risk factor for cervical cancer, with most girls receiving the vaccine around the age of 12.

Cervical cancer incidence and mortality in australia remained at a historical low in 2012-13 at seven new cases per 100,000 women and two deaths per 100,000 women.

These reductions, however, have not applied in equal measure to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

"For Indigenous women, the rate of new cases of cervical cancer was twice that of non-Indigenous women, with death rates four times as high," AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey said in a statement.

The data also showed a clear trend of increasing participation with increasing socioeconomic status, with rates ranging from 52 percent in areas of lowest socioeconomic status to 64 percent in areas of highest socioeconomic status.

Cervical cancer is a rare outcome of persistent infection with one or more of the cancer-causing types of HPV, and is a largely preventable disease. Vaccination and two-yearly pap smear screenings are the main prevention strategies implemented in Australia.(PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/PJN

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