Health Care

HPV vaccine: What is HPV? How does it cause cervical cancer?

HPV vaccine: What is HPV? How does it cause cervical cancer?”

Scotland also has very detailed information about take-up rates, which have been very high: running to approximately 90% in Scotland for the routinely vaccinated girls and 65% for the older girls vaccinated as part of the catch-up programme.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and many countries, including the United Kingdom, offer vaccination to girls to protect them against cervical cancer, and other related cancers, in later life.

Cervical disease is the precursor to cervical cancer, which presents as a cluster of abnormal cells and lesions.

High-risk HPV types, however, linger in the cells that line the surfaces of our body, triggering changes that can eventually turn them cancerous.

It retrieved 1,38,692 records and the researchers compared the data of unvaccinated women born in 1988 to vaccinated women born between 1995 and 1996.

This is consistent with the fact that we have also seen a big fall in high-risk HPV infection in Scotland in recent years.

"But because it knocks out these other three types, it is nearer 90% of cervical pre-cancer in Scotland."

But there was also a drop in the levels of disease among women who have not been vaccinated, which suggests a "herd immunity" effect, say the authors - because there has been less HPV virus in the community.

Younger age at vaccination was associated with increasing vaccine effectiveness (86% for CIN grade 3 or worse for women vaccinated at age 12-13 compared with 51% for women vaccinated at age 17).

The routine vaccination of schoolgirls with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Scotland has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical disease in later life, new research suggests. She called for scaling up of HPV vaccination to countries where it is not yet available or accepted.

79% reduction in CIN grade 1.

The team, led by Dr Tim Palmer at the University of Edinburgh, analysed vaccination and screening records for 138,692 women born between 1988 and 1996 who had a screening test result recorded at age 20.

The study enrolled 192 women, diagnosed with precancerous skin growths, randomising 129 to receive the vaccine and 63, placebo. The higher the number, the higher the risk is of developing invasive cancer.

"The findings will need to be considered by cervical cancer prevention programmes worldwide".

The study - which assessed data from around 140,000 women - found that the vaccine has nearly "wiped out" all cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women.

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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