Cervical cancer could be on its way to extinction thanks to improved testing and vaccination


Cervical cancer could be on its way to extinction thanks to improved testing and vaccination, NHS professor says

  • A new detection method rolled out last month looks for traces of HPV
  • NHS England claims a quarter of new cases could be prevented by the method
  • About 2,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in England 

Cervical cancer has the potential to be eliminated thanks to improved testing and vaccination, NHS officials claim.

A new detection method rolled out last month looks for traces of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause nearly all cervical tumours.

Women with HPV positive results are then referred for further checks which search for abnormal changes in the cervix.

A new detection method rolled out last month looks for traces of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause nearly all cervical tumours

A new detection method rolled out last month looks for traces of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause nearly all cervical tumours

NHS England claims a quarter of new cases could be prevented by the method, which is carried out at the same time as the conventional smear test.

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer, said he hoped that the technique, combined with the HPV jab, could see the disease ‘eliminated altogether by the NHS in England’.

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer, said he hoped that the technique, combined with the HPV jab, could see the disease 'eliminated altogether by the NHS in England'

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer, said he hoped that the technique, combined with the HPV jab, could see the disease ‘eliminated altogether by the NHS in England’

The jab, which protects against other forms of cancer as well as cervical, is offered to all girls and boys aged 12 and 13.

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About 2,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in England.

WHAT IS CERVICAL CANCER?

Cervical cancer affects the lining of the lower part of womb.

The most common symptom is unusual bleeding, such as between periods, during sex or after the menopause, but other signs can include:

  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal discharge that smells 
  • Pain in the pelvis

Causes can include:

  • Age – more than half of sufferers are under 45
  • HPV infection – which affects most people at some point in their lives
  • Smoking – responsible for 21 per cent of cases
  • Contraceptive pill – linked to 10 per cent of cases
  • Having children
  • Family history of cervical or other types of cancer, like vagina

Source: Cancer Research UK 



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