Following the massive vaccination of young girls 13 years ago against HPV – a sexually-transmitted infection that can lead to cancers – in the United Kingdom, it was revealed that the vaccine cut the occurrences of cervical cancer by nearly 90%.
“The impact has been huge,” says Prof Peter Sasieni, one of the researchers at King’s College London. According to Cancer Research UK, the first data show that the vaccine actually saves lives: indeed, pre-cancerous growths were in fewer numbers and there was an 87% reduction in cervical cancer.
Young girls between the age of 11 and 13 received the HPV – or human papillomavirus – vaccine in 2008. Today, they are in their 20s, and the study shows that some 450 cancers and 17,200 pre-cancers were prevented thanks to the vaccine. Vaccination campaigns could erase cervical cancer which is caused by viruses. Through a World Health Organization initiative, some 100 countries are introducing the HPV vaccine to eradicate the fourth most common cancer in women once and for all.