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Immunisation – stimulating the body's immune system to protect against specific diseases – can help to prevent cancer by reducing the prevalence of precancerous viral infections.

The most prominent virus-related cancers are cervical cancers, 99.7% of which are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), and liver cancer, more than half of which are caused by persistent hepatitis B infection.

Both HPV and hepatitis B can be controlled through immunisation; cervical cancer burden is also controlled through screening. From December 2017 the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap smear test as part of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program.

For policy information on cancer and immunisation, see either the cervical cancer chapter or the liver cancer chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy.

Detailed information on Australian Government immunisation policy and services is available on the Immunise Australia Program website.

Information is also available on our cervical screening website


Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. Journal of Pathology, 1999, Hall AJ and Wild CP.

Liver cancer in low and middle income countries. British Medical Journal, 2003

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