A new study has found that cervical cancer rates are almost 90% lower in women that have been vaccinated against HPV
The English HPV vaccination programme was introduced back in 2008, with vaccines given to women between the ages of 12 and 13 and “catch-up” jabs offered to older age groups, up to the age of 18.
A new study has found that cervical cancer rates are almost 90% lower in women vaccinated against HPV.
According to a study that was published in The Lancet, women who were offered the HPV vaccine aged between 12 and 13 were found to have cancer rates that were 87% lower than those in previous generations.
Researchers had also found a reduction of 62% in women who were vaccinated between the ages of 14 and 16.
The first generation of women, who had been offered “catch-up” jabs aged between 16 and 18, were found to have a 34% reduction in rates of cervical cancer.
Professor Peter Sasieni, who is from King’s College London and is also one of the authors of the paper, said that some of the results were “almost too good to be true”.
“Everything is on target to be preventing essentially all cancers from HPV 16 and 18 in vaccinated women,” he said.
This comes after face masks are being made mandatory again for all parliamentary staffers, but not MPs, amid concern over the recent rise in cases of the coronavirus and the safety of workers within the Palace of Westminster.
He said that there was also “some cross-protection” for other cancers that are caused by the human papillomavirus and “some protection, although much less, to women of the same age who are not actually vaccinated”.
He continued: “There is a lot of vaccine hesitancy going on these days.
“People who are opposed to these vaccines can no longer say this vaccine doesn’t prevent cancer because this makes it absolutely clear it is having a dramatic effect on cervical cancer incidents.”
With coronavirus vaccinations now taking place in schools, he said that there are pressures to move HPV vaccines from the autumn to the summer term.
“We need to think about the impact that will have,” he said.
“People don’t come in because they are revising, or they only come in for exams. So to get the same uptake of the vaccine will be challenging – as I am sure it has been challenging the last year and a half because of COVID.”
HPV vaccination has been introduced in 100 countries as part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) efforts to eliminate cervical cancer.
It is a common sexually transmitted infection, with some types being linked to cervical cancer in women and head and neck cancer in men.
The English HPV vaccination programme was introduced in 2008, with vaccines given to women aged between 12 and 13 and “catch-up” jabs offered to older age groups up to the age of 18.
England initially used a bivalent vaccine, which protects against the two most common types of HPV, responsible for approximately 70% to 80% of all cervical cancers. Since September 2012, the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil has been used instead.
The study looked at the population-based cancer registry data between January 2006 and June 2019 for seven women aged between 20 and 64.
During that time frame, 28,000 diagnoses of cervical cancer and 300,000 diagnoses of non-invasive cervical carcinoma (CIN3) in total were recorded in England.
In the three vaccinated cohorts, there were just 638 cases of cervical cancers and 18,662 cases of CIN3 compared to the non-vaccinated population.
This comes after the UK strategy to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2050 is achievable and affordable, according to the government’s official climate advisers. The Climate Change Committee has said that the plan was the most comprehensive in the G20 and had strengthened the position of the UK as it prepares to preside over the Cop26 climate summit.
Prof Sasieni said cases in young women were “very traumatic on everyone”.
“When talking to colleagues who treat women, they always remember the young ones and sometimes it is very aggressive and they can’t help that much,” he said.
One of the benefits of such an effective vaccine, he said, could mean women require less cervical screening, adding: “It doesn’t make sense to say you need to continue screening in the same way.”
But he said until the policy was changed, “the last thing we want is for women to think, I have been vaccinated so I don’t need to attend my screening – because that could have really serious consequences”.
The authors of the study did acknowledge some limitations – principally that cervical cancer diagnosis is rare in young women. Because the vaccinated populations are still young, the authors also stressed this means that it is still too early to assess the full impact of HPV immunisation on cervical cancer rates.