The HPV vaccine significantly reduces a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, especially in women who were immunized at an early age, a large Swedish study found.
According to a study of about 1.7 million girls and women published on Thursday, the risk of cervical cancer was reduced by 88 percent among women who were vaccinated before the age of 17, and 53 percent among children between 17 and 30 years of age. Was less. Issue of New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers said the study is important because previous research has shown that the HPV vaccine can protect against human papillomavirus infection, genital warts, and cervical precursors, solid evidence that the vaccine was indeed lacking for invasive cervical cancer.
“The first study to show that HPV vaccination protects against cervical cancer at the population level is the first study,” Par Spren, a professor of medical epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said in an email to NBC News.
“Studies show that HPV vaccination is protective against cervical cancer, and that vaccination at an early age is important for good protection,” Spren said.
Researchers said that women who were vaccinated as young girls had better protection because they were immunized before being exposed to HPV through sexual activity.
Human papillomavirus is a group of viruses that cause most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer. HPV can also cause cancer of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and throat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that HPV causes approximately 35,000 cancer cases each year in women and men in the United States.
The study, which used nationwide registry data in Sweden, followed 1.7 million girls and women aged 10 to 30 years after 2006 – the year the HPV vaccine was approved in that country – and 2017. Of them, 527,871 received at least one dose of the vaccine during the study, before the age of 17. Cervical cancer was diagnosed during the study period in 19 vaccine women and 538 unrelated women.
The study is important because it “confirms what we know and is one step ahead,” said Debbie Saslow, managing director of HPV and gynecological cancer at the American Cancer Society.
“We have really strong statistics that show that HPV vaccination inhibits advanced cervical precursors, and all the scientists in the world who work in cervical cancer agree that if you have advanced pre-. If you stop cancer, you stop cancer, and that’s an accepted marker. ” said. “However, there are some critics and nayayayers who say, ‘Yes, but show me that it prevents cancer,’ and it is said.”
With the new paper, “We now have complete numbers and data that says in girls and young women who were vaccinated they had very strong protection against cervical cancer, because women who didn’t get vaccinated,” Saslo he said.
The version of HPV vaccine used in the study is protected from four HPV variants. A new vaccine currently used in the United States protects against nine HPV variants.
The HPV vaccine is considered most effective when given to preteens, before they are exposed to HPV and when they manifest the strongest immune response to the vaccine. The CDC recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine for all girls and boys ages 11 to 12, but says the vaccine can be given at age 9. Those receiving the first dose at age 15 or older require a three-shot series, the CDC says. The vaccine is recommended for everyone at the age of 26, and for some people at the age of 45 in consultation with a physician.