November 18, 2017

HPV jab means women only need 3 cervical screens in a lifetime

12 November 2017, 03:34 | Silvia Roy

CREDIT Pan American Health Organization

CREDIT Pan American Health Organization

The paper, published in the International Journal of Cancer, said reducing the frequency of smear tests is made safer by the rollout of a new way of testing for HPV - the virus which causes 95 per cent of cases of cervical cancer - which means doctors can be more confident women are at low risk.

In our days the number of women with cervical cancer are steadily increasing.

Teenagers began getting the HPV jab a decade ago and experts say that they could be now spared three quarters of checks while maintaining the same protection against cancer. This new research shows that these women can still be effectively protected from cervical cancer with fewer screens, which could also save the NHS resources.

"These women are far less likely to develop cervical cancer so they don't need such stringent routine checking as those at a higher risk", he said.

The study also suggested that unvaccinated women should only need seven lifetime screens when the new screening test comes in, five fewer than is now standard. After that, they are invited every five years until 64.

Vaccination against the most risky types of HPV was introduced for girls aged 11-13 in 2008.

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Sophia Lowes, Cancer Research UK's health information officer, said the figures were disappointing.

Prof Peter Sasieni, the lead author of the study, said cutting the number of smear tests for vaccinated women would make sense and save money. The new programme called HPV primary testing is set to be introduced in England by December 2019.

Testing for HPV first will be rolled out into the English cervical screening programme over the next two years.

More research is needed to understand the mechanism at play.

The current HPV vaccine available in the U.S., Gardasil, protects against the types of HPV responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers, as well as giving protection against 90% of genital warts.

"The cervical screening programme is already very successful, and has led to a dramatic fall in deaths from the disease since its introduction".

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'Around 3,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United Kingdom and tragically it causes 900 deaths, nearly all in older women who did not benefit from the HPV vaccination programme.

Scientists from the University of southern California claim that IUDs significantly reduce the risk of cancer of the cervix (cervical cancer).

As of March 2017, 72% of eligible women were screened within the recommended timeframe, compared to 75.7% in 2011.

"While we hope to see these improvements to the screening programme in the future, it's important that women continue to take up invitations for cervical screening".

"If we do not reverse falling screening attendance we will simply be faced with more lives lost to the disease which could have been prevented".

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