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NHS England promises to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040

NHS England promises to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040

NHS England aims to eliminate cervical cancer by 2040, focusing on increased rates of HPV vaccination and screening. Around 2,600 women in England are diagnosed with the cancer annually.

NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard plans to adopt strategies used during the Covid pandemic, like community-based vaccination, and improve the NHS app for easier access to vaccination history and appointments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) sets a target rate of four cases per 100,000 to consider cervical cancer eliminated. Current HPV vaccination rates in England are about 86% for girls and 81% for boys, with the vaccine being 90% effective against the virus causing 99% of cervical cancers. However, one in three eligible individuals does not participate in cervical screening, a key component in early detection and prevention.

Since the HPV vaccine's introduction in 2008, there has been an 87% reduction in cervical cancers among vaccinated girls. Regular screening via smear tests is offered to women in different age groups, and the HPV vaccine is available in schools and through GPs until age 25.

The NHS England's goal is supported by Cancer Research UK, but it emphasizes the need for sufficient resources and modern IT infrastructure to increase vaccination and screening uptake.

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