Nov 4, 2021 - Health

Study finds HPV vaccine cuts cervical cancer by nearly 90%

Certified medical assistant Karla Huerta fills a needle with the drug Gardasil, used for HPV vaccinations.

Photo: Matthew Busch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

New, real world data shows the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine cut cervical cancer rates among women in the U.K. by nearly 90%, according to a study published Wednesday in The Lancet.

Why it matters: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the world, per the World Health Organization, killing more than 300,000 women each year.

By the numbers: The study estimates that by mid-2019, the HPV vaccine had prevented about 450 cancer and 17,200 pre-cancer diagnoses over 11 years, according to the study's funder, Cancer Research UK.

  • The adults, who are now in their 20s, reported a 87% reduction in cervical cancer, according to the study.
  • Those who got the vaccine between ages 14 and 16 saw a 62% reduced rate of cancer and cancerous conditions and those between 16 and 18 years old saw a 24% decrease risk, according to the study.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among vaccinated women, the percentage of cervical pre-cancer linked to cervical cancer dropped 40%.

Of note: The U.K.'s HPV vaccine program was launched in 2008 and targets girls between the ages of 11 and 13, per Cancer Research UK.

  • The vaccine is most effective during this age range, "when someone is less likely to have been exposed to HPV," per Cancer Research UK.
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