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Cervical cancer "is beatable"

A leading cervical cancer expert has claimed a screening and vaccination programme could eradicate the disease within the next five decades.

And European governments should make more of an effort to get rid of the disease, according to Professor Jack Cuzick, of the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology in London.

He said vaccines already available can protect women against two strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), potentially preventing up to 75% of cases.

And Prof Cuzick believes the disease could be eradicated entirely if new vaccines in development are effective against all nine strains of the virus.

"If they are successful, there should be no need to screen women that have been vaccinated at all," he said.

For now, vaccinated women still require screening for the rest of their lives.

Prof Cuzick said the "Pap" smear test, which looks for abnormal cervical cells, should be replaced with automated screening for the HPV.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Cancer Research UK