A cervical cancer prevention jab being used in schools could protect more people against the disease than first predicted, research has revealed.
Young girls are being protected against sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) through the vaccination programme.
The vaccinations guard against strains 16 and 18 of HPV, which previous research has shown cause 70% of cervical cancer cases.
But new research has discovered between 73% and 77% of cases could be prevented by the jabs.
And research showed the vaccinations could also help to fight other strains of HPV.
This means the number of cases of cervical cancer across the whole of the UK could fall from almost 3,000 at the moment to fewer than 700 a year.
With almost 1,000 women dying from the disease every year, more lives could also be saved.
The latest research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, was carried out by scientists at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the University of Manchester and Manchester Royal Infirmary.
HPA epidemiologist Kate Soldan said: "We've found that, if vaccine uptake is good, the HPV vaccine should prevent the majority of cases of cervical cancer in this country.
"Because the vaccine is given to teenage girls and cervical cancer affects adult women, it will be some years before we see the actual impact of immunisation, but we do expect to start seeing these effects in coming years, as vaccinated girls become adults."
"The uptake may have been higher if the DH had done the media campaign as promised instead of it being hijacked by swine flu. Could we please ask the DH to pick up the campaign this next year otherwise the already cash strapped front line service will have to do it, to the detriment of other services" - Sheila Munks, Nottingham