Isabella Ross

This November we will stand united, get tested and build awareness of the importance of early detection in National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2018. Proudly presented by the National Cervical Screening Program, Aussies are being encouraged to get involved from 12 November – 18 November.

In Australia, we have been fortunate enough to have a considerably low rate of cervical cancer diagnosis, thanks to prevention methods enacted in the late 2000’s. However, many in developing countries are not as lucky to have access to necessary medicines or vaccines, like the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. The HPV vaccine has achieved significant scientific breakthrough in Australian health within the last decade. The malignant papillomas caused by the virus can be held responsible for a broad range of cancers including cervical cancer.

In 2007-2008, Australia was one of the first countries to implement a National HPV Vaccination Program, which ensured that boys and girls aged 12-13 would be vaccinated against high-risk pathogenic types 6, 11, 16 and 18. This program of course saw Australia rise to the top in terms of breakthroughs in worldwide cervical cancer prevention. Then recently in December 2017, The Department of Health announced that our nation would be transitioning from the regular cytology to a new and innovative HPV cervical screening. Instead of having to be tested every 2 years with cytology, women would now only have to be tested every 5 years if there was no prior history.


Data from the report demonstrated the age-standardised annual incidence of invasive cervical cancer


Another recent breakthrough has been the research results presented by the Australian Lancet Public Health Journal. The report detailed that by 2022, cervical cancer will have approximately six cases per every 100,000 Australians, therefore certifying the disease as a rare cancer within our national healthcare system. Even more astounding, is that the disease in Australia has the potential to be eradicated by 2035, if the current National HPV Vaccination Program and recent HPV cervical screening remains in place. This news brings relief to thousands of women across the country, who have previously had to struggle or have had a loved one who have dealt with the dreaded disease. Leisa Harrison is one of the lucky ones, as early detection and regular screening ensured she would not have to face cervical cancer later down the track.

“I had a routine pap smear at 25 years of age and was told I had CIN3 which means abnormal cells were found on the surface of the cervix. I was very lucky and grateful they found this before it could have the chance to possibly change into cancer. So I had treatment to remove these cells.”

To support and get involved this National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, simply visit their home page, and purchase one of their beautiful bespoke nail polishes. The proceeds from your purchase will pay for cervical screening of a beloved mum, wife, sister, aunty, grandmother or daughter who lives in a developing country who would otherwise not have access to this life-saving test.