Policy priorities

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Policy priorities

Cancer Council aims to maximise participation in the cervical screening program of eligible women, encourage maximum uptake of prophylactic HPV vaccination by the target population, and support further research and contribute to improvements in both programs.

Table 1. Strategy for reducing cervical cancer burden in Australia

Maximise uptake of the prophylactic HPV vaccine
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Promote participation in the HPV immunisation program and compliance with the vaccination schedule among adolescents Department of Health Higher coverage rates and herd immunity leading to lower HPV infection rates
Emphasise strategies to facilitate vaccination of girls in population groups that have a higher incidence of and mortality from cervical cancer Department of Health As above
Devise clear, and culturally and age-sensitive communication strategies to inform target audiences about HPV and the importance of vaccination Department of Health Built into program implementation costs As above Particularly important with the addition of aolescent males to the immunisation program

An information campaign has been built into the HPV vaccination program for boys

Implement a comprehensive, evidence-based cervical screening prevention program
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Timely implementation of National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) Renewal recommendations Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) Implementation of recommendations could lead to cost savings See NCSP Renewal for more It is important, in the transition phase, to maximise participation in the current program with Pap screening every two years.
Develop communications strategies to ensure target populations and health professionals understand and participate in renewed cervical cancer prevention program AHMAC Built into program implementation costs As above
Maximise screening participation of eligible women
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Promote and foster participation in cervical cancer screening, particularly among women in under-screened populations, including collaboration with Indigenous communities AHMAC, Indigenous groups, other representatives of under-screened populations Improved cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in high-risk groups
Develop communication strategies to ensure women are aware of the need and recommended frequency of screening for both HPV-vaccinated and unvaccinated women AHMAC, health professionals Improving both under- and over-screening rates, and thus cost-effectiveness of the NCSP
Ongoing monitoring and evaluationof cervical screening and HPV immunisation programs
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Develop a national (real or virtual) cervical screening register, and linkage to the National HPV Vaccination Program Register Department of Health, AHMAC Improved program implementation and data on program efficacy
Implement a national HPV surveillance program, including accurate and internationally comparable HPV DNA genotyping of all CIN3 lesions Health Protection and Surveillance Branch, Office of Health Protection, Department of Health Evaluate HPV vaccines and impact of vaccination programs
Encourage routine recording of Indigenous status AHMAC, health professionals Low cost Will enable evaluation of effectiveness of programs and of targeted efforts
Further research related to cervical cancer prevention in Australia
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Fund further research to produce the evidence needed to inform practice and policy development in Australia National Health and Medical Research Council and other funders Modest, funded on a project by project basis Evidence informed policy to improve current cervical cancer prevention programs

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