A new study that was recently published by The Lancet reported that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine had slashed cervical cancer rates among women by 87 percent, CNN reported.
The promising study estimated that there were “450 fewer cases” of cervical cancer in mid to late 2019. It also found that there were 17,200 fewer cases of pre-cancers in vaccinated women, in particular. Researchers from Kings College London assessed “population-based cancer registry data” in the UK between January 2006 and June 2019. The data was compromised of three groups of women who were vaccinated and unvaccinated — all of whom were of different ages.
The study found that women who were vaccinated between the ages of 12 and 13 were the most protected against contracting the virus, compared to women who were vaccinated between the ages of 14 and 16, which drastically reduced the rate of protection to 62 percent. Women who were vaccinated between the ages of 16 and 18 saw a 24 percent reduction.
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One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Kate Soldan from the UK Health Security Agency, said that she was elated that the findings show direct evidence of the HPV vaccine’s effectiveness in the UK.
“This represents an important step forwards in cervical cancer prevention. We hope that these new results encourage uptake as the success of the vaccination program relies not only on the efficacy of the vaccine but also the proportion of the population vaccinated,” she explained.
According to The BBC, nearly 99 percent of cervical cancers are caused by Human papillomaviruses. There are more than 100 types of HPV strains, making them hard to treat and sometimes hard to detect for women. While the Cervarix vaccine, which was the focus of the study, protects against two types of cancer-causing HPV, newer vaccines created under the Gardasil brand can protect women against more types of HPV. Cervical cancer kills nearly 300,000 women each year and is the fourth most common cancer found in women around the world.
This news is monumental for Black and Latina women, in particular, who are at a higher risk of developing the disease due to health disparities and decreased access to cervical screenings and testing, The Centers For Disease Control notes.
Out of 100,000 women, about 8 Black women and 9 Latina women have developed invasive cancer from HPV, compared to 7 white women. It is estimated that 12,000 new cases of HPV-related cervical cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
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