Media and Facts

Media and Facts

For media enquiries please contact: Joe Tooma by email or phone 0419 481 472 or Liz Ham by email or phone 0413 085 279. 

Global Statistics 2020

  • Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer affecting women (ranking fourth for both incidence and mortality)1.
  • In 2018, an estimated 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide, and over 311,000 women died from the disease1.

Australian Statistics 2020

  • Cervical cancer was the 14th most commonly diagnosed cancer among females in Australia in 2015. In 2019, it is estimated that it will remain the 14th most commonly diagnosed cancer among females2.
  • In 2019, an estimated 951 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in women in Australia, and an estimated 256 women died from the disease2.
  • Indigenous women are 2.5 times as likely to develop cervical cancer, and 3.5 times as likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Indigenous Australian women3.
  • The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with cervical cancer (measured between 2011-2015) is 74%4. In comparison, breast and prostate cancers have a five-year survival rate of 91% and 95.2% respectively4.
  • Currently, only 55.4% of eligible Australian women are screening as frequently as recommended (women aged 20-69 between 2015 - 2016). This means that almost 45% of eligible Australian women have either never-screened, or are lapsed screeners (have not screened for sometime)5.
  • Over 70% (72%) of cervical cancers occur in women who have never-screened or who were lapsed screeners (had not screened for some time)5.
  • Cervical cancers detected through cervical screening are less likely to cause death. This is due to the fact that cervical cancers diagnosed through screening are generally detected earlier5.
  • In 2017, 80.2% of females and 75.9% of males aged 15 years had received all 3 doses of the HPV vaccine6.
  • In 2019, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will be 7.2 cases per 100,000 females2. The incidence rate for cervical cancer is expected to be highest for age groups 40–44, followed by age groups 30–34 and 35–392.

  1. Bray F, Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Siegel R, Torre L, Jemal A. Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2018;68(6):394-424.
  2. Cervical cancer in Australia statistics. Cervical cancer [Internet]. 2020[cited 18 March 2020]. Available from:
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cervical screening in Australia 2019. Cancer series no. 123. Cat. no. CAN 124. Canberra: AIHW. p.67;72.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Cancer series no.119. Cat. no. CAN 123. Canberra: AIHW. p.78.
  5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Analysis of cervical cancer and abnormality outcomes in an era of cervical screening and HPV vaccination in Australia. Cancer series no. 126. Cat. no. CAN 129. Canberra: AIHW.
  6. Coverage Data - National HPV Vaccination Program Register [Internet]. 2020 [cited 18 March 2020]. Available from:


Thimphu, Bhutan; & Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

As Bhutan mounts its own strong defence against the COVID-19 virus, The Royal Government of Bhutan, Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) and  MSD (which is known as Merck & Co. Inc in the United States and Canada) this month celebrate the tenth anniversary of Bhutan’s equally defiant fight against cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). On 5 May 2010, Bhutan launched a nationwide vaccination program against cervical cancer with GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant].

This was the first nationwide public-private partnership supporting HPV vaccination in the developing world, and the opportunity to take a long-term perspective on cervical cancer prevention was a key objective of the partnership.

ACCF Chief Executive Officer, Joe Tooma said, “This unique partnership has been ground-breaking, being the first-ever national HPV vaccination program in a developing country.  It has served as a valuable example for other nations and we express our appreciation to MSD and to the Royal Government of Bhutan.  So many learnings have been shared which enabled HPV vaccination programs in other countries.  ACCF is committed to seeing HPV vaccine available in the developing world.  HPV vaccination can help to reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 90% in countries where resources for cervical screening or treatments are very limited.  In my opinion, HPV vaccination is a life-saver and it’s the best weapon we have to save millions of women who could die from this killer cancer.”

In the first year of the program, MSD provided GARDASIL [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant], to the Ministry of Health at no cost.  MSD donated enough doses to vaccinate all eligible 12 to 18-year-old girls and young women.  Since that time, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation has provided funding to the Royal Government of Bhutan to procure GARDASIL.

Professor Ian Frazer, whose work at the University of Queensland made the development of HPV vaccines possible, was complimentary about the efforts of the program and commitment in Bhutan. “Cervical cancer control is achievable globally, through vaccination and screening, and the WHO has set a global target for 2030 of vaccinating 90% of girls by age 15.  However, emerging nations need examples of how this can be achieved.  Bhutan, through partnership between MSD, ACCF, and government, has developed a sustainable program for prevention of HPV infection and its consequences.    Covid-19 has reminded us that infection control will always be high on the global health agenda. Ongoing partnerships between government, global health agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry are essential to ensure that we are able to meet new challenges as they arise for the benefit of humankind.”

The program was inspired by Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Gyalyum Kesang Choeden Wangchuck (and whose ongoing personal interest and support for the program has been present since inception), and led by the Bhutan Ministry of Health, to reduce the burden of cervical cancer- a disease that continues to impact more women in Bhutan than any other cancer. Bhutan was the first low-income country in the world to implement a national vaccination program with an HPV vaccine. Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother has given thanks to the united cooperation of the partners in the Bhutan Nationwide HPV Vaccination Program and has said that its success is a model for other countries.

Over the past 10 years, Bhutan has continued to vaccinate a cohort of 12-year-old girls through a school-based vaccination program.  In total nearly 110,000 females have been vaccinated since the beginning of the partnership. The impressive results from Bhutan’s vaccination program have been published and have served as a model for other countries around the globe.

Bhutan’s Honourable Minister for Health, Dechen Wangmo, has noted that “Bhutan has taken steps to ensure the sustainability of the program beyond the original partnership and has provided direct funding towards the annual school-based vaccination campaign in 12-year-old girls. The continued success of the program has allowed Bhutan to contemplate the elimination of cervical cancer”. The Government of Bhutan also has an ongoing testing program, including most recently adopting HPV DNA testing and targeted interventions to eliminate cervical cancer, and is now in consideration of adopting HPV vaccination in boys.

 “The impact that this pioneering partnership has had on the people of Bhutan is nothing short of remarkable.  Today we celebrate not only the many women and girls who have been vaccinated with GARDASIL to date, but also the potential reduction in the cervical cancer burden across the country,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, Chief Patient Officer, MSD. “The 10th anniversary milestone demonstrates the importance of collaboration between committed governments and public and private sector partners to enable girls and women everywhere to benefit from vaccination against cervical cancer and is paving the way for new and expanded HPV vaccination programs in similar settings around the world.”

Media Contact Information: Mr Joe Tooma, CEO, Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation

Ph: + 61 419 481 472


Nationally-representative survey reveals the true extent of the resistance women have towards the Cervical Screening Test (CST), and the need for greater community education1

  • Embarrassment is a significant barrier to having the CST: Over a quarter of Aussie women (6%) are reticent about making appointments because they’re embarrassed, and a third (32.3%) because it’s awkward1
  • Aussie women are failing to understand the CST and how regularly they should coordinate appointments: Only a third of women (34%) know the test screens for human papillomavirus (HPV), and the majority are not aware that the CST has moved to a five-yearly cycle1
  • Australia is predicted to be the first country to eradicate cervical cancer by 2035:2 Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation’s new campaign, cerFIX2035, aims to educate Australian women on the risk of cervical cancer, and steps we can all take to eradicate it

BRISBANE: THURSDAY, 11 JULY 2019: Today, Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) has released new research which reveals, for the first time, the true extent of the drivers and barriers which can deter Australian women from undertaking the all-important Cervical Screening Test (CST) – previously known as the Pap or smear test.1 An estimated 951 women will be diagnosed and 256 will die from cervical cancer in 2019 alone.3

Worryingly, ACCF can reveal that for more than a quarter of Aussie women, embarrassment is a major determining factor when it comes to booking in for their CST. What’s more, many have concerns that they aren’t “normal” down there, even that it might “smell,” or that they are not “groomed appropriately.”1

In light of the new research findings, ACCF is launching the timely ‘cerFIX2035’ campaign; one with a focus on educating and empowering women about their cervical health and ultimately helping Australia become the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer by 2035.2

“The recently published, internationally-acclaimed Lancet study has for the first time revealed that cervical cancer eradication is within reach, and within the power of all of us to achieve by 2035, if we take proactive and concerted steps to achieve it,” said Professor Ian Frazer

“To make it a reality, we know we must ensure we maintain high rates of HPV vaccination among eligible school-age male and females offered via the National Immunisation Program whilst concurrently increasing current Cervical Screening Test participation rates from 50% to more than 70%.”

Commenting on the results of the nationally-representative survey, Joe Tooma, CEO, ACCF, reflects on what we can learn from, and react to:

“Our national research demonstrates that whilst we as a nation have made significant gains when it comes to HPV vaccination rates and driving down new cases of cervical cancer, misunderstanding of cervical cancer and of the Cervical Screening Test is rife,” said Joe Tooma, CEO, ACCF.

“Australian women have told us in no uncertain terms that despite the many off-putting experiences surrounding the CST, they do in fact see the value of it and wish to see further information.

“It’s imperative therefore that we not only act but react to the new research. That is why we have launched cerFIX2035 today with a big ambition – to see Australia become the first country to officially eradicate cervical cancer by 2035. Eradication is within our grasp – that is a truly exciting and achievable proposition,” Mr Tooma continued.

Dr. Ginni Mansberg, General Practitioner and television presenter, believes that we all need to take collective steps to best manage our cervical health and to ensure we as a nation continue to lead the way on cervical cancer:

“Further to cervical screening changing from a two-yearly to a five-yearly cycle back in December 2017 – a change our research tells us nearly half of all women are unaware of – women are now required to undergo the new CST within their scheduled two years, before moving to the five-yearly cycle. We therefore encourage women who have not been screened in the last two years to do so before December 2019,” said Dr. Mansberg.

“We urge all Australian women to also speak to their healthcare provider about all available testing options to ensure the most personalised care can be provided to them.”

The research also reveals, aside from embarrassment factors, that there is a deeper, more fundamental lack of education regarding cervical health which means women are not getting tested and remain ill-informed of the associated risks.1 Shockingly, for example, almost three quarters of all women think that the CST tests directly for cervical cancer and about a third believe that it tests for ovarian cancer, despite the fact that the CST tests for human papillomavirus (also known as HPV) – a common infection that can cause cervical cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer.1

Therefore, in not getting tested, Australian women may be putting themselves at risk of missing a cervical cancer diagnosis.

“It’s important we continue to talk about screening and the value it provides to enable us to normalise the conversation, debunk common myths and most importantly, to encourage each other to attend. It is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable – over 40% of women tell us it is – that’s why it’s important to talk to family and friends who have been through it, to better-understand what to expect,” Dr. Mansberg continued.

“Better still, your healthcare provider is also there to help you through the process so don’t be afraid to speak up.”

Despite the lack of knowledge on – and turning a blind eye to – how often to attend a CST and what exactly it tests for, overwhelmingly, Aussie women (almost 80%) consider it either very important or somewhat important that they’re keeping up-to-date with their CST.Furthermore, over three quarters of women want to see CST awareness campaigns centred on positivity, and the potential to eradicate cervical cancer.1 ACCF has therefore launched cerFIX2035 to address these wishes, and improve the cervical health of the nation.

About the consumer survey

The consumer survey was conducted by independent research house PureProfile amongst a nationally-representative sample of 1,005 Australian women for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.

Cervical Screening Test

  • The five-yearly Cervical Screening Test replaced the two-yearly Pap test in December 20174
  • The Cervical Screening Test detects the human papillomavirus (HPV), something the Pap test could not detect4
  • HPV is a common virus that, if left undetected, can cause abnormal cell changes in the cervix which may lead to cervical cancer4
  • The Cervical Screening Test is safe at five yearly screening intervals, compared to the previous two-yearly cycle of the Pap test, compared to the previous two-yearly cycle of the Pap test, because HPV usually takes 10 or more years to develop into cervical cancer4


  1. Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. PureProfile Consumer Survey, 2019
  2. M T Hall et al, 2018. The projected timeframe until cervical cancer elimination in Australia: a modelling study. The Lancet, Volume 4 Issue 1. Date accessed: June 2019
  3. Australian Government, Cervical cancer statistics. Available at: Date accessed: June 2019
  4. Australian Government, National Cervical Screening Program. Available at Date accessed: June 2019

Courtesy of Ten News.