Friday, 19 April, 2019

Latest Pharmacy News: HPV vaccine 'dramatically' lowers cervical cancer risk

Poor diet worse than smoking Poor diet a bigger risk factor for death than smoking research finds
Celia Hoffman | 06 April, 2019, 20:41

HPV - human papillomavirus - is a sexually-transmitted infection and some types are linked to cervical cancer, one of the most common cancers in women aged under 35 in the UK.

There was an 88% reduction in the rate of grade 2 CIN and a 79% reduction in grade 1. And young boys and men are now also encouraged to get the vaccine, as are women up to age 45.

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).

"It is associated with near elimination of both low and high grade cervical disease in young Scottish women eight years after the vaccine programme started".

The higher the CIN grade, the higher the risk is of developing invasive cancer. While it was observed that 58 percent of the participants in the study were infected with HPV, only 18 percent of them had received the full dose of the vaccine.

Conducted at Rutgers Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, the study also looked at the prevalence of HPV exposure, HIV infection and HPV vaccination in people who were older than 23 years old and were members of ethnic or racial minority groups.

The research, which used data from 138,692 women born between 1 January 1988 and 5 June 1996 who had their smear test result recorded when they were aged 20 years, also revealed evidence of herd protection against high-grade cervical disease in unvaccinated women. In 2008, routine HPV immunisation of 12 and 13-year-old girls was introduced in schools across the UK. Halkitis said it was also known that those living with HIV are more likely to be impacted by HPV infection and HPV-related cancers.

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Meanwhile, in parts of Canada, HPV vaccinations are now being offered to uninfected women as part of the cervical screening process.

Jo's Trust, a cervical cancer charity that reviewed the paper, commented: 'We think (it has) massive implications for the screening programme, vaccine and also impacts on diagnoses in the future.

The success of the vaccine program is already proving to be remarkable.

According to the authors, there's been a reduction of up to 90% of cervical disease abnormalities (or pre-cancerous cells).

"This shows that rare types of cervical cancer can be effectively prevented through screening", says co-author Professor Pär Sparén at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, guarantor of the study.

But in the long term, it may be that "two or three screens in a lifetime using HPV testing might be sufficient", the paper said.

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