Australia is on track to eliminate cervical cancer, according to a new report, while here in America we’re still dragging our feet on the HPV vaccine in case it makes teens horny, or whatever.
The New York Times covered the new study in the journal The Lancet Public Health; it found that“fewer than four women in every 100,000 could be diagnosed with cervical cancer annually in Australia — effectively eliminating the disease as a public health problem. And by 2066, the researchers say, less than one woman per year could receive that diagnosis.”
It started with free vaccines:
Australia’s national health care system first introduced the vaccination program in 2007 as a cost-free three-dose course for teenage girls. In 2013, the program was expanded to school-age boys, who can carry and transmit the virus, and develop other forms of cancer. According to the Cancer Council Australia, the vaccination has led to a 77 percent reduction in the types of HPV most responsible for cervical cancer. Australia now has one of the lowest cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in the world.
Meanwhile, ABC News noted earlier this year that, in the United States, “the most recent statistics from 2016 show that while around 65 percent of girls had started the vaccine course, only 56 percent of boys had.”
But it’s not that they just made the vaccine ubiquitous—they did that, along with “screening programs for older women and widespread public support.” The progress is the result of a comprehensive public health initiative with widespread buy-in, and Australia will have to work to maintain the gains.
But it’s evidence it can be done, and they’ve provided a model for other countries to follow: “Australia is on track to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer,” said epidemiologist Karen Canfell, who runs the organization in charge of the study. “I think this shows the way forward for other countries.”
Maybe once America is no longer run by creeps, grifters, and moralizing goons, we can lower our own rates of cervical cancer.