A study suggests that cervical cancer screening might only be required on 3 occasions during the lifetime of a woman vaccinated against a human papilloma virus (HPV)

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10 November, 2017

All girls can get the HPV vaccine free from the NHS from the age of 12 until their 18th birthday.  Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35 in the UK and it helps protect against it.

Gardasil is the vaccine used by the NHS to protect against 4 types of HPV which cause more than 70% of cervical cancers in the UK. In England girls aged 12 to 13 years are routinely offered it in year 8.  A second dose is normally offered 6 to 12 months after.

Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by infection with a high risk type of HPV.  Normally, those who have it are asymptomatic.  Some recover naturally without treatment, others don't.  Ultimately, this can cause abnormal tissue growth.

Cervical screening (the smear test) can detect changes in cells.  They can then be treated to stop the cancer developing.

It was previously reported that because the HPV vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer it is still important for all girls who receive it to have regular screening.

The BBC Report that a team from the Queen Mary University of London found that screening for women aged 30, 40 and 55 would offer the same benefit to these women, as the 12 currently offered.

The lead author of the study, Professor Peter Sasieni said "these women are far less likely to develop cervical cancer so that they don't need such stringent routine checking of those at a high risk".

"This decision would free up resources for where they are needed most.  The change in screening system is a unique opportunity to re-assess how often women are invited for cervical screens during their lifetime".

It would appear to be fantastic news for women, but Cancer Research UK continue to encourage women to take up the invitation for cervical screening despite the anticipated  improvements  that the screening programme will bring in the future.

For further information please contact solicitor Leonie Millard in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Clinical Negligence department here

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