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Cervical cancer jab 'can cut screening'

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Girls who get cervical cancer jabs may only need screening twice in their lifetime, medical experts have claimed.

It is hoped that the disease will become “rare” as a result of the vaccine’s introduction, according to Professor Peter Sasieni of the University of London.

“After youngsters have had the jab at the age of 12 or 13, they would only require screening for the illness when they are 30 and 45,” he said.

The jab will protect girls against key strains of the papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted infection behind most cases of cervical cancer.

Professor Sasieni suggested that HPV testing could replace current smear testing programmes, where women are invited for screening every three to five years.

The HPV test can detect up to 13 strains of cervical cancer, although the infection can take more than 10 years to develop after infection takes place.

“If you don’t have one of these 13 types of HPV then your chance of getting cervical cancer in the next 10 years is really incredibly low,” Professor Sasieni said.

“You would capture virtually everybody with HPV testing. Vaccinated women would only need to be screened when they are 30 and 45.”

In the UK, from September 2008 to July 2010, at least four million doses of the Cervarix jab were given.

 

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