This Vaccine highly successful at reducing Cervical Cancer risk

The study is the first of its kind in the UK to assess the effectiveness


Last Updated on November 6, 2021 by The Health Master

A team of UK researchers examined all cervical cancers diagnosed in England in women aged between 20-64 from 2006 – 2019. Among these individuals, the researchers looked at three cohorts of women who had been vaccinated with the Cervarix vaccine.

The team found that cervical cancer rates were reduced by 87% in women who were vaccinated when they were 12-13 years of age. These numbers were reduced if the person was older when vaccinated with Cervarix.

Cervical cancers

In particular, the study found that cervical cancer rates were reduced by 62% in women offered vaccination between the ages of 14-16, and 34% in women aged of 16-18 when they were offered the jab.

The study is the first of its kind in the UK to assess the effectiveness of the HPV programme, which was introduced throughout England in 2008.

Then, the programme used the bivalent vaccine, Cervarix, which protects against the two most common types of HPV. Since September 2012 the quadrivalent vaccine Gardasil has been used instead.

The study was conducted by researchers at King’s College London and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) run by NHS Digital.

It estimates that the HPV vaccination programme has prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous condition over an 11-year period.

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV and the vaccine is thought to the most effective when given at an early age, before sexual activity has occurred and people have been exposed to HPV.

HPV Vaccine: The HPV vaccine protects against the main cancer-causing strains of the virus: HPV 16 and 18. Protecting people against the infection helps to prevent abnormal changes in cervical cells, in turn leading to fewer cases of cervical cancer.

Professor Peter Sasieni, lead author from King’s College London, says: “It’s been incredible to see the impact of HPV vaccination, and now we can prove it prevented hundreds of women from developing cancer in England.

We’ve known for many years that HPV vaccination is very effective in preventing particular strains of the virus, but to see the real-life impact of the vaccine has been truly rewarding.

“Assuming most people continue to get the HPV vaccine and go for screening, cervical cancer will become a rare disease. This year we have already seen the power of vaccines in controlling the C-19 pandemic. These data show that vaccination works in preventing some cancers.”

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive called the results from the study “historic”.

“It’s a historic moment to see the first study showing that the HPV vaccine has and will continue to protect thousands of women from developing cervical cancer,” Mitchell said.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist in Immunisations at Public Health England, added: “These remarkable findings confirm that the HPV vaccine saves lives by dramatically reducing cervical cancer rates among women.

This reminds us that vaccines are one of the most important tools we have to help us live longer, healthier lives.

“This fantastic achievement has been made possible thanks to the high uptake of the HPV vaccine in England. We encourage all who are eligible for the HPV vaccine to take it up when it is offered in school.

All those eligible can catch-up until their 25th birthday. Together with cervical screening, this will help to protect more women from preventable cases of cervical cancer.”

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