Cervical cancer vaccine may be more effective than thought say scientists

In collaboration with the Press Association

The cervical cancer vaccine may be more effective than scientists had originally thought, a paper published in medical journal the Lancet has claimed. The paper followed up 800 of the women who took part in the original tests of the vaccine, which was designed to be effective against the two strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) involved in the majority of cervical cancers. The vaccine was found to still be effective after four years, with none of the decrease in protection commonly observed after many other vaccines. In addition, the women were also shown to be resistant to two more strains of the HPV virus than had originally been hoped for. "Since the vaccine is being targeted initially at girls of around 12, it is very important that the protection lasts as long as possible," said Dr Anne Szarewski of Cancer Research UK. "The vaccine is totally effective against cervical abnormalities due to HPV types 16 and 18, which is very encouraging. "The fact that it also protects against two more HPV types is extremely exciting, as this may mean that around 80 per cent of cervical cancers could be prevented with this vaccine. This is very good news for women in the UK." Cervical cancer is the second most common form of the disease among women under 35 years old in the UK, with around 3,000 new cases diagnosed every year.