HPV vaccine has slashed rate of cervical disease
VACCINATING girls against the HPV virus has led to a dramatic drop in cervical disease in later life, research suggests.
Since 2008, all British schoolgirls have been offered the human papillomavirus vaccine at the age of 12 or 13.
The study of 138,000 women in Scotland shows the programme has cut rates of abnormal cervical cells – a warning sign of cervical cancer – by nearly 90 per cent. Researchers hope that in time they will be able to prove the vaccine has also cut rates of cervical cancer but the full impact will not be known until the girls enter their late 20s and 30s.
About 3,200 British women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and 1,000 die with the disease annually.
The team, led by Tim Palmer at the University of Edinburgh, told the British Medical Journal: ‘The findings will need to be considered by cervical cancer prevention programmes worldwide.’
Study co-author Dr Kevin Pollock, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said: ‘The vaccine has exceeded expectation. It is associated with the near elimination of both low and high-grade cervical disease in young Scottish women eight years after the vaccine programme started.’