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HPV jab " to slash cervical cancer"

Experts predict that the number of women in their 20s diagnosed with cervical cancer will be cut by about 63% by 2025 thanks to the HPV vaccine.

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, made the prediction based on the assumption that 80% of girls took up the vaccine - which has been offered to girls aged 12 and 13 since 2008. Current local government figures showed that 78% of girls had all three doses of the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine protects against two types of the virus - HPV 16 and HPV 18 - which cause around 70% of cervical cancers.

Researchers also predicted CIN3 will hit 51% fewer women. CIN3 are severe cell changes that are treated to prevent them leading to cervical cancer. It was also predicted that there would be 27% fewer women recalled for abnormal smear tests - seen as less severe than CIN3.

As the girls age, the benefits offered by the vaccine will be revealed.

Cancer Research UK's Professor Jack Cuzick, lead author from Queen Mary, University of London, said: "This is the most realistic estimate of the impact the vaccination programme will have on the number of women who develop cervical cancer.

"It shows that the vaccine has great potential in preventing the disease in the near future, but also that it'll take several decades before we see its full benefits."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Cancer Research UK

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"This is good to read. Being a nurse on the HPV immunisation programme it's good to know the predicted outcome is extremely positive" - Name and address supplied

"Prevention is better than a cure, and I believe we should 'go for it' as far as possible to prevent cancer in women" - Mabel Farr, N Ireland