The HPV Vaccine Is Already Dramatically Lowering Rates Of Cervical Disease
The HPV Vaccine Is Already Dramatically Lowering Rates Of Cervical Disease
'Profound reduction' in cervical disease in HPV-vaccinated women, study finds
06 April, 2019, 20:41
Scotland also has very detailed information about take-up rates, which have been very high: running to approximately 90% in Scotland for the routinely vaccinated girls and 65% for the older girls vaccinated as part of the catch-up programme.
Vaccination has led to far fewer HPV infections, but there has not yet been much published evidence of the impact this has had on cervical disease and cancer.
In countries like Scotland, though, routine HPV vaccination was quickly adopted and made commonplace, thanks to a nationally funded vaccination program that targeted 12-to-13-year-old girls starting in 2008, along with a later program that targeted older teens.
A new study in the British Medical Journal has found a huge drop in the proportions of vaccinated women aged 20 detected at screening with cervical disease - the abnormal cells and lesions that are the precursor of cancer. This programme should also mean that high-risk HPV infections among the population should be eliminated more quickly, which should have knock-on benefits for rates of HPV-driven cancers.
The newest version protects against seven high-risk types that account for 90 per cent of cervical cancers (along with two types that cause genital warts).
Meanwhile, in parts of Canada, HPV vaccinations are now being offered to uninfected women as part of the cervical screening process.
"But because it knocks out these other three types, it is nearer 90% of cervical pre-cancer in Scotland."
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This may be because the vaccine is most effective for those who have not encountered HPV before.
The uptake rate in Scotland is now around 90%, while cervical cancer cases in women aged 20-24 have reduced by 69% since 2012.
There was an 88% reduction in the rate of grade 2 CIN and a 79% reduction in grade 1. The higher the number, the higher the risk is of developing invasive cancer.
"It is associated with near elimination of both low and high-grade cervical disease in young Scottish women 8 years after the vaccine programme started". "We must also actively develop, resource, and scale up more effective, feasible and culturally acceptable strategies for cervical screening, such as self-collection of specimens, if we are ever to effectively reduce the global burden of cervical cancer".
The findings clearly show that the routine HPV vaccination programme for girls aged 12 to 13 has been a resounding success.
This suggests, according to the researchers, that most cases of rare cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccination. "Ultimately, the clinical and economic rationale for cervical screening will need to be reviewed".
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