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This week, NHS England has pledged to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040. We are really excited about the news as the pledge includes plans to improve access to online booking for vaccination appointments nationally and support for healthcare professionals to reach those most at risk.
With Sweden on track to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030, and with Australia not far behind them, it is great to see NHS England making this pledge. At Jo’s, we have been calling for government commitments to cervical cancer elimination for a number of years. Our most recent report outlines the some of the challenges and opportunities on the path to achieving this.
We’re incredibly lucky to have the tools to make cervical cancer a thing of the past. The HPV vaccination programme is incredibly successful and has already led to an 87% decrease in cervical cancer incidence in women in their 20s. Alongside its vaccination drive, the NHS is inviting more people than ever before for cervical screening – over five million people aged 25 to 64 were invited last year, with 3.5 million tested – while self-sampling is being trialled to determine if it could be introduced as part of national screening.
However, there is still more to be done. We need Government commitment across the UK so these programmes are appropriately funded, resourced and staffed – from immunisation teams, through primary care, colposcopy teams, and laboratories. We need to tackle inequalities in cancer prevention, and to make sure we can innovate for the future. With this political commitment, and cervical cancer recognised as a priority, the UK can join the short list of nations who are only a few years away from saving the lives of tens of thousands of women, improving health outcomes, and reducing the physical, emotional, and financial impact of cervical cancer.
9 women a day are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK, and 2 women a day lose their lives to this disease. You can play your part in making cervical cancer a thing of the past by raising awareness and supporting our Cervical Cancer Prevention Week on 22nd - 28th January 2024. Together, we can end cervical cancer.
Read more about the NHS England's pledge to end cervical cancer by 2040 >