The head of NHS England will announce that cervical cancer could be eradicated by the year 2040.
The leader of the NHS England will announce on Wednesday that cervical cancer can be eradicated in England by 2040, resulting in the prevention of numerous women’s deaths.
NHS England’s chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, will state that by utilizing both HPV vaccination and screening methods, it is feasible to eliminate the disease.
This is believed to be the first instance in which an NHS leader, senior physician, or health minister has suggested the potential for eradicating any type of cancer within a specific timeframe.
But, Pritchard will emphasize the importance of schoolchildren and young adults receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to reach this goal. HPV is responsible for 99% of cervical cancers, and it is crucial for more women to attend screening appointments.
Pritchard will address health trust leaders at the NHS Providers conference in Liverpool, emphasizing the significance and life-saving impact of being able to announce this important goal today.
Eliminating cervical cancer would be a remarkable accomplishment, and with the use of both our HPV vaccination program and efficient cervical screening program, it may be possible within the next twenty years.
In the United Kingdom, approximately 3,200 women are identified with cervical cancer and 850 lose their lives to it every year. This type of cancer ranks as the 14th most prevalent among women in Britain, with those between the ages of 30 and 34 having the highest likelihood of being diagnosed.
The onset of this illness occurs when unusual cells form in the cervical lining and proliferate, eventually forming a mass. If the cells are not detected early on, the cancer can metastasize to other areas of the body.
Progress in the field of cancer treatment, specifically the success of HPV vaccination, has convinced Pritchard that achieving elimination by 2040 is possible.
NHS England stated that Pritchard’s commitment to eradicating cervical cancer was a “promise” to eliminate it, but she acknowledged that achieving this goal was an “aspiration”.
A representative from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust expressed satisfaction with NHS England’s commitment to eradicate cervical cancer by 2040.
“The HPV vaccine program has shown great success, resulting in an 87% decrease in cervical cancer cases among women in their 20s.”
The introduction of HPV vaccinations has greatly improved the prospects for preventing the disease. Initially available to girls aged 12 and 13 in 2008, the NHS expanded the eligibility to include boys and young adults up to age 25.
By the time students reach 14 or 15 years of age, 86.5% of girls and 81.5% of boys have received vaccinations through a combination of school-based immunization and catch-up programs. This is known as take-up.
Research indicates that the implementation of the HPV vaccine has resulted in the prevention of approximately 450 incidents of cervical cancer and 17,200 instances where clusters of potentially harmful cells would have developed.
The NHS has started providing the vaccine in a single shot instead of two, in order to simplify and expedite the immunization process.
On Wednesday, Pritchard will clarify that the NHS has various strategies in place to achieve its objective. These methods will involve offering vaccinations in more accessible locations, such as libraries, community centers, and recreational facilities.
There will be a new attempt to convince women who have not been screened to get screened. NHS leaders are worried that a record high of one in three women are not attending their screening appointments. The possibility of discomfort during the procedure may discourage them from going. NHS England stated that this one-third of women who do not attend pose a significant threat to the goal of elimination.
The health service intends to revamp the NHS app to simplify the process of receiving vaccinations for various illnesses, in line with its vaccination plan.
In 2020, the World Health Assembly, consisting of 194 members including the UK, unanimously agreed to eradicate cervical cancer as a public health concern. However, no specific timeline was established for this goal.
Australia has made a promise to be the initial nation to achieve this goal by 2035, while Canada has committed to doing so by 2040. On the other hand, the EU’s plan states that its members are expected to eliminate the disease by the end of the 21st century.
Dr. Julie Sharp, the head of health and patient information at Cancer Research UK, stated that if combined with screening, the HPV vaccination has the potential to greatly decrease the prevalence of cervical cancer to the point where it is almost non-existent.
According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer will be considered eliminated if the rate of new cases is less than four per 100,000 women in the population.