| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

HPV vaccine cutting cervical cancer by nearly 90%

According to the first real-world data, the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine is reducing cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90%.

The findings were described as “historic” by Cancer Research UK, and they demonstrated that the vaccine was saving lives.

Viruses cause nearly all cervical cancers, and vaccination could almost completely eliminate the disease.

According to the researchers, the success meant that those who were vaccinated may require far fewer cervical smear tests as well.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, killing over 300,000 people each year.

Almost nine out of ten deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where cervical cancer screening is limited. Vaccination, it is hoped, will have a greater impact in these countries than in wealthier nations such as the United Kingdom.

More than 100 countries have begun using the vaccine as part of the World Health Organization’s plans to eliminate cervical cancer.

In the United Kingdom, girls between the ages of 11 and 13, depending on where they live, are offered the vaccine. Since 2019, boys have also been given the vaccine.

The Lancet study looked at what happened after the vaccine was made available to girls in England in 2008.

Those students are now adults in their twenties. The study found a reduction in both precancerous and cancerous growths, as well as an 87 percent reduction in cervical cancer.

“The impact has been enormous,” said Prof Peter Sasieni of King’s College London.

When older teenagers were immunized as part of a catch-up campaign, the reductions were less dramatic. This is because fewer older teenagers chose to have the jab, and it was ideally administered before they became sexually active.

According to the study, the HPV program has prevented approximately 450 cancers and 17,200 pre-cancers.

Prof Sasieni stated that this was “just the tip of the iceberg” because those who had been vaccinated were still too young to develop cancer, so the numbers would only grow over time.