Vaccine could wipe out cervical cancer within 50 years

Cervical cancer could be eradicated within five decades by screening and vaccination programmes, a leading expert said yesterday.

Professor Jack Cuzick called on European governments to spearhead a concerted effort to make the disease disappear. Currently vaccines exist that can protect women against two strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer.

These alone had the potential to eradicate three quarters of cancers, said Prof Cuzick, from the Cancer Research UK Centre for Epidemiology in London.

But new vaccines now in development that will be effective against all nine strains of the virus raised the prospect of wiping out the disease entirely within 50 years.

"If they are successful, there should be no need to screen women that have been vaccinated at all," Prof Cuzick told a European cancer conference in Berlin. "That's the long term future: vaccination and no screening. After about 50 years, we could see cervical cancer disappearing."

For the time being, vaccinated women would still require screening for the rest of their lives, he said, as the vaccine was not effective in women who had already been exposed to the virus. He said it was important to replace the traditional "Pap" smear test, which looks for abnormal cervical cells, with automated screening for the HPV.

There was "overwhelming" evidence HPV screening was more effective than smear tests, said Prof Cuzick. The Pap test missed an estimated third to a half of all high-grade abnormal cells.

He said the European Union and national governments should take the lead on discussions about implementing screening and vaccination programmes rather than relying on pharmaceutical companies.

"One of the most useful things the EU could do would be to provide a forum for the dissemination of knowledge about the role of HPV both to doctors and to the general public," said Prof Cuzick. "It could sponsor a major symposium to discuss HPV testing, vaccination and the best strategies for implementing programmes in member countries. There's been a lot of concern, particularly with the vaccine, that dissemination of information about HPV has come mainly from the drug companies, and people are, not surprisingly, a little sceptical of pharmaceutical-based education programmes.

"So if the EU was to take this up without pharmaceutical support, I think it would be very appropriate and it would provide a forum that would be extremely legitimate."

He pointed out that although it was more expensive, HPV testing could be carried out less frequently than the three-yearly Pap test.

Younger women of 25 to 30 could have the test at five-year intervals which could be extended to eight years by the age of 50.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Graduate / Junior C# Developer

    £18000 - £25000 Per Annum + bonus and benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Drama Teacher

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Drama Teacher Required! The jobWe are ...

    Nursery Worker

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Worker (permanent) Greater ...

    English Teacher - long term assignment in Cheshire

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: English Teacher - long term job opport...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits