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Cervical cancer vaccine recipients may only need one smear test in their lives

Results from the HPV vaccine could change the screening program for cervical cancer.

02 March 2022

The HPV vaccine is leading to such dramatic reductions in cervical cancer that those who receive it may only need one smear test in their lives, according to a leading cancer prevention scientist.

The academic director of King’s Clinical Trials Unit Professor Peter Sasieni said that the screening programme – which currently needs to be performed every three to five years – could soon change due to the encouraging results from the new HPV vaccine.

He told BBC Radio 4: “This is really exciting…. (The HPV vaccine) protects against even more types of the virus, and I think with that probably one screen would be enough, maybe two, over a lifetime.”

In the meantime, Cancer Research UK is still urging people to come forward for screening.

According to the BBC, nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomaviruses – known as HPV – and there are more than 100 types.

As the virus is spread by close skin-to-skin contact, the vaccine is ideally given before a person becomes sexually active.

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