AMA warns against cervical cancer complacency


gardasil The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has welcomed a decision to put the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil on the national immunisation program, but says screening for older women must be stepped up.

The Federal Government has given the go ahead for the $436 million immunisation program which will be carried out through schools from April next year.

It will also be available through GPs for the next two years for women aged 18 to 26.

The AMA's national president, Doctor Mukesh Haikerwal, says the move will reduce cervical cancer rates into the future, but it does not reduce the need for normal screening.

"The funding that currently is available for the screening program in terms of public awareness needs to be broadened," he said.

"We need to include women that are not turning up for smear tests, including women in their mid-40s and over, women from non-English speaking backgrounds, women from Indigenous communities and indeed people in rural communities."

But Doctor Haikerwal says it is good to see the Government has put public health ahead of the Budget bottom line.

"The decision to fund Gardasil will certainly reduce the number of cases of cervical cancer into the future," he said.

"It will also give us an additional layer of comfort to women as they enter adult life and it will reduce, hopefully, the number of cases of cervical cancer.

"What is doesn't do however is reduce the need for cervival screening."

source - ABC Net 


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