Routine vaccination of girls aged 12 to 13 against HPV has reduced rates of cervical disease by almost 90%
- All girls in the UK have been offering the vaccine for 12 or 13 years since 2008
- Research on 138,000 women shows that the number of abnormal cervical cells has been reduced
- These are considered as one of the warning signs for cervical cancer
Regular vaccination of British schoolgirls against the HPV virus has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical disease in later life, research suggests.
All schoolgirls in the UK have been offering the human papillomavirus vaccine since 2008 at the age of 12 or 13.
The new study of 138,000 women in Scotland shows that the program has reduced the rates of abnormal cervical cells – one of the cervical cancer warning signs – by nearly 90 percent.
They hope that over time they will be able to prove that they have also reduced cervical cancer, but the full impact will only be known when the girls who have been vaccinated arrive in the late 20s and 30s.
All schoolgirls in the UK have been offering the human papillomavirus vaccine since 2008 at the age of 12 or 13
About 3,200 British women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year and 1,000 people die each year from the disease.
Researchers looked at the impact of the vaccination program on levels of abnormal cells and cervical lesions, known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or CIN, which may be the early warning signs of cervical cancer.
The higher the CIN score, the greater the risk of developing invasive cancer.
The team, led by Tim Palmer from the University of Edinburgh, analyzed vaccination and screening data for 138,692 women born between 1988 and 1996, who had a screening test at age 20.
They found that, compared to non-vaccinated women born in 1988, vaccinated women born in 1995 and 1996 had a 89 percent reduction in CIN grade 3 or worse, an 88 percent reduction in CIN grade 2 or worse and a 79 percent reduction in CIN grade 1.
Unvaccinated women also showed a decrease in the disease, suggesting that an interruption of HPV transmission in Scotland has significant & # 39; herd protection & # 39; has created, researchers said.
ARE BOYS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM TO OFFER THE HPV VACCIN?
About two million boys in the UK will miss the HPV vaccine because of the government's refusal to offer them a catch-up, it reported in December.
Ministers announced in the summer that the life-saving jabs, given to teenage girls since 2008, would also be offered to boys.
When the introduction for girls was announced ten years ago, officials offered a catch-up program for those between 13 and 18 years old.
But the same 13 to 18 add-on will not be offered to boys who are hoped to receive the vaccine between the ages of 12 and 13 from 2019.
Critics fear that this could mean that a generation of boys too old to qualify for the vaccine will not be protected against the virus, which can cause cancer of the penis and anus.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, said: “Routine vaccination of girls aged 12-13 with the bivalent HPV vaccine in Scotland has led to a dramatic reduction in pre-invasive cervical disease.
& # 39; The bivalent vaccine has been confirmed as a very effective vaccine and should greatly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.
& # 39; The findings should be considered by & # 39; s prevention programs for cervical cancer worldwide. & # 39;
Dr. Kevin Pollock, senior research fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University and the co-author of the study, said: “The conclusion is that the vaccine has exceeded expectations.
& # 39; It is accompanied by almost complete elimination of both low and high rates of cervical disease in young Scottish women eight years after the vaccine program was started.
& # 39; The figures are impressive and show a reduction of up to 90 percent of the abnormalities of the cervical disease – pre-cancer cells.
& # 39; These data correspond to the reduced circulation of high-risk HPV infection in Scotland and confirm that the HPV vaccine should significantly reduce cervical cancer in the coming years.
& # 39; Indeed, cases of cervical cancer in women aged 20-24 have decreased by 69 percent since 2012 & # 39;
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “The findings of this study are very exciting and clearly show the impact of the HPV vaccine on protecting the cervical health of future generations .
& # 39; We are lucky to have such an effective & # 39; n prevention program that the elimination of cervical cancer is firmly on the horizon.
& # 39; Attention to communities and areas where uptake is below the national average should be a priority. & # 39;
The government plans to extend the vaccination program to boys next year.
Boys were not included in the vaccination program, but the ministers changed course after the Joint Committee for vaccination and immunization had advised extending the scheme to boys of the same age.
HPV is thought to cause about 2,500 cases of cancer in men and about 650 deaths each year, mainly from throat and mouth cancers.
HPV is spread through sexual contact and is given in the early teens so that an immune response is established before they become sexually active.
WHAT IS HPV? THE INFECTION ASSOCIATED WITH 99% OF CERVICAL CANCER CASES
Up to eight out of ten people will be infected with HPV in their lives
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes on the inside of your body.
Spread by vaginal, anal and oral sex and skin-to-skin contact between sexual organs, it is very common.
Up to eight out of ten people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives.
There are more than 100 types of HPV. About 30 of them can affect the genital area. Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious.
Many people never show symptoms because they can occur years after infection and the majority of cases disappear without treatment.
It can lead to genital warts and it is also known to create cervical cancer caused by abnormal tissue growth.
Annually, an average of 38,000 cases of HPV-related cancer are diagnosed in the US, 3,100 cases of cervical cancer in the UK and about 2,000 other forms of cancer in men.
HPV can also cause cancer of the throat, neck, tongue, tonsils, vulva, vagina, penis or anus. It can take years for cancer to develop.