Women who have HPV vaccine may need fewer cervical screenings

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It means that cervical samples are tested for HPV but only checked for abnormal cells if the virus is found.

A new study published today suggests women might only need to be tested seven times in total, because new tests being rolled out across the NHS are more sensitive.

The NHS cervical screening programme invites women aged between 25 and 64 for cervical screening.

Public Health England last night confirmed they were reviewing the frequency of the cervical cancer screening programme - and said they would take into account the new findings along with other similar peer-reviewed research. The new programme called HPV primary testing is set to be introduced in England by December 2019.

Scotland and Wales are also preparing their own plans to introduce this new HPV test.


In Ireland, the HSE has offered the HPV vaccine to all girls in first year in secondary schools since 2010, on the grounds that it is best to give the vaccine during those years.

The vaccine for HPV protects women against the most unsafe forms of the virus - which will infect most people at some point - and significantly reduces the chance of developing cervical cancer.

"Cervical screening can be quite an uncomfortable experience, but I'm forever grateful that the test spotted my cancer early".

Find out about some of the issues women with learning disabilities face when they have a cervical screening test.

The study, carried out by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, used various scenarios to determine how many cervical screening tests would be needed by women who received the HPV vaccine at the age of 12.


Researchers are not sure why the risk of cervical cancer drops so much, but one theory is that the devices stimulate an immune response that helps fight off cancer-causing infections like the human papillomavirus (HPV). In 2012, according to the who, over half a million women worldwide were diagnosed with "cervical cancer" and nearly 270 thousand women died from this disease.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK said it was "great news" for women.

'The cervical screening programme is already very successful, and has led to a dramatic fall in deaths from the disease since its introduction'. Cervical cancer kills about 270,000 women a year, according to the World Health Organisation.

HPV infects most people at some point.

"While we hope to see these improvements to the screening programme in the future, it's important that women continue to take up invitations for cervical screening".


Uptake of the cervical screening programme is now at its lowest level for 20 years, with more than 1.2million women aged 25 to 64 failing to turn up in 2016/17.

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