Cervical cancer jab women will 'only need three smears'

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At the moment, labs test for abnormalities in cells taken in a smear test but the new tests will check for the presence of HPV first and only check for abnormal cells if the virus is found.

"These women are far less likely to develop cervical cancer so they don't need such stringent routine checking as those at a higher risk", he said. 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.

During the project, the US researchers analyzed data from 16 large studies that involved more than 12 thousand women from different countries of the world. Find out what happens if you don't have a normal result.

They also noted that the screening interval for unvaccinated women could be safely lengthened, finding that this patient group would need just seven smear tests in their lifetime.

Professor Peter Sasieni, Cancer Research UK's screening expert and lead author based at QMUL, said: "The NHS should benefit from the investment that it's made by introducing the vaccination programme".

Women who get intra-uterine devices (IUDs) for birth control appear to face a dramatically lower risk of getting cervical cancer, the third most common cancer in women worldwide, USA researchers say.

It is now being rolled out across the NHS, and by December 2019 all women in England will be able to get it.

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.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK said: "This is great news for women".

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

With this new vaccine, the researchers believe vaccinated women will only need two smear tests in their lifetime.

"If we do not reverse falling screening attendance we will simply be faced with more lives lost to the disease which could have been prevented".

There is strong evidence of the beneficial impact of the HPV vaccine for women's health in countries that have had high uptake rates, and Minister for Health Simon Harris said recently that "this is a vaccine that can and is saving lives'".

Who should have the HPV vaccine?

That is why getting the vaccine during the teenage years is recommended.

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).

The results come ahead of planned changes to cervical screening in the United Kingdom, which will see HPV testing in cervical samples to screen those at risk of cervical cancer being rolled out in England by 2019.

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