Cervical cancer vaccine offers "great promise"

In collaboration with the Press Association

The vaccine against cervical cancer could be on the market in the UK within weeks. The vaccine, known as Gardasil, is suitable for women and girls aged nine to 26 years. If used correctly, it offers 100 per cent protection against the two main strains of the virus which triggers the vast majority of cases of the disease.

Gardasil will initially only be available privately but there are hopes that it will soon be available on the NHS free for all women. A second vaccine Cervarix, which protects up to the age of 55 years, is expected to gain its license early next year,

Dr Anne Szarewski, Clinical Consultant for Cancer Research UK, who works on the HPV virus, said: "HPV vaccination offers great promise in terms of reducing the number of cases of cervical cancer and preventing deaths from it. "Currently there are still 3,000 women in the UK who get cervical cancer each year - despite a highly efficient screening programme." Dr Szarewski explained that the peak age for cervical cancer to strike is while women are in their late-30s, but it can occur earlier. "Treatments, such as hysterectomy, will prevent them having children, perhaps before they have had a chance to start a family," she said. "The idea of finally being able to prevent cases of cervical cancer with a vaccine is extremely exciting."

Find out about the cervical cancer vaccine on CancerHelp UK