Cervical cancer vaccine's impact 'underestimated'

Vaccination could prevent up to 10% more cervical cancer cases than previously thought, UK research suggests.

A study found that 73-77% of cervical cancer cases were caused by either HPV type 16 or 18, both of which are prevented by the current vaccine used in the UK.  Previous studies suggested that 70% of cases were caused by these types.

Writing in the British Journal of Cancer, the researchers said they believe that vaccination could reduce cervical cancer cases from 3,000 a year to under 700. The team included scientists from the Health Protection Agency, the University of Manchester and Manchester Royal Infirmary.

A substantial proportion of less serious cervical disease is also likely to be prevented by immunisation, the researchers said. This would mean that fewer women would need to be called back for further investigations and treatment following cervical screening.

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