It has been almost a decade and a half since the first HPV vaccine was rolled out in 2006. The vaccine rollout was a crucial moment because it represented a chance to win the war against cervical cancer, becoming too common. Fast forward to today, and the vaccine has proved effective.
The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden recently conducted a study on the HPV vaccines, and the results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One of the observations that researchers made was that women that have been vaccinated against HPV are less likely to contract cervical cancer. The study also found that women least susceptible to cervical cancer were vaccinated while they were young.
“This is the first time that we, on a population level, can show that HPV vaccination is protective not only against cellular changes that can be precursors to cervical cancer but also against actual invasive cervical cancer,” stated iayao Lei, a corresponding author for the study.
Lei is also a Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics researcher at Karolinska Institutet. The researcher also pointed out that researchers have expected and predicted that the HPV vaccine would yield such results for a long time. This is based on the link between HPV and various cancers, mainly cervical cancer.
The research has been going on for 11 years
The HPV vaccine research was not conducted over a few months but rather years, 11 years to be specific. The researchers kept track of roughly 1.7 million women between 10 and 30 years old, out of which more than 500,000 of them received the HPV vaccine. Most of them were vaccinated while below 17 years old.
Only 19 women out of the ones vaccinated were diagnosed with cervical cancer over the years, while 538 non-vaccinated women were diagnosed with cancer out of the group of women that researchers kept track of. This study concluded that vaccination against HPV played an important role in reducing cervical cancer cases. Researchers also discovered that the HPV vaccine given to women before 17 years old reduced the likelihood of getting cervical cancer by 88%.