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HPV vaccine 'cuts cervical Ca burden'

Introducing an HPV vaccine for all 12-year-old girls in the UK would dramatically reduce the burden of cervical cancer, researchers report.

Their study, published online by the British Journal of Cancer, is being considered by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – which is debating introducing a vaccine on the NHS.

Over the lifetime of a cohort of women, cases of cervical

cancer cases would fall by 76

per cent from 2,636 to 632,

and deaths from 1,403 to 335, according to the model.

Vaccination would reduce prevalence of precancerous lesions by 95 per cent, high-grade lesions 66 per cent and low-grade lesions 45 per cent.

The model, which assumed 100 per cent coverage and current screening practices, also predicted a vaccination programme would avoid a quarter of abnormal cytology tests.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP spokesperson for women's health and a GP in Shepherd's Bush, west London, said reducing smears and cancers would save women 'emotional strain'. 'You can't model for those costs,' she added.

But Dr Anne Szarewski, clinical consultant at Cancer Research UK, said it was difficult to predict vaccine uptake. 'If the Government says "go to your GP and get it", I think very few people will go,' she warned.

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