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HPV-vaccinated women only need three smear tests, study suggests

12 November 2017

Their new study suggested these women could still be effectively protected from cancer with fewer smear tests, following both HPV vaccination and the introduction of improved screening.

More research is needed to understand the mechanism at play. The change in the screening system is a unique opportunity to reassess how often women are invited for cervical screens during their lifetimes'.

In the United Kingdom, women are invited for screening between the ages of 25 and 64, every few years.

Women who have been given the HPV cervical cancer (HPV) vaccine may only need three cervical screenings in their lifetime, a study in England has said. The new programme called HPV primary testing is set to be introduced in England by December 2019.

Experts on the UK National Screening Committee are now reviewing the frequency at which women have to undergo the tests for cervical cancer.

Statistical modelling showed limited benefit to additional screening tests in women who received the HPV-16/18 vaccine as children.

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Scotland and Wales are also preparing their own plans to introduce this new HPV test.

Cervical cancer kills about 270,000 women per year and infects more than 528,000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Cervical screening can be quite an uncomfortable experience, but I'm forever grateful that the test spotted my cancer early".

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK said: "This is great news for women".

Researchers are not sure why the risk of cervical cancer drops so much, but one theory is that the devices stimulate an immune response that helps fight off cancer-causing infections like the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Professor Peter Sasieni, Cancer Research UK's screening expert and lead author based at QMUL, said: "The NHS should benefit from the investment that it's made by introducing the vaccination programme". In 2012, according to the who, over half a million women worldwide were diagnosed with "cervical cancer" and nearly 270 thousand women died from this disease.

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Testing for HPV first will be rolled out into the English cervical screening programme over the next two years.

As the risk of cervical cancer is considerably reduced, the study suggested that the number of screens should be decreased accordingly, avoiding unnecessary procedures for women.

'However, we must continue to focus on increasing uptake of the vaccination and screening programmes to ensure more women are able to benefit from these advances.

HPV-vaccinated women may only need three smear tests in their lifetimes, a study has found.

'Screening attendance is falling across the United Kingdom and in England is now at 20-year low'.

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HPV-vaccinated women only need three smear tests, study suggests