KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — A major review of outcomes related to vaccinations against the human papilloma virus (HPV) offers hope that cervical cancer could one day be eradicated.
It looked at conditions before vaccination began and eight years later. HPV vaccination has been available for a decade.
The review of 65 studies covering 60 million people in 14 high-income countries, looked at HPV rates, cases of genital warts and pre-cancerous cells in the cervix.
The data showed that vaccination led to an 83 per cent reduction in HPV infections over five to eight years among 15 to 19 year old girls. Among women aged 20 to 24, infections were down 66 per cent.
Dramatic reductions could also be seen in the number of anogenital warts and precancerous lesions seen. These are possible precursors to cervical cancer.
People who were not vaccinated also benefited. Cases of genital warts among men aged 15-19 reduced by almost 50 per cent, and also among women over 30.
In general, rates were seen to fall more in countries where a wider age group was vaccinated and where coverage was higher.
Published in the Lancet, the review however looked only at studies carried out in high-income countries where there had been no opposition to the vaccine.
There is also no data from lower income countries. They have the highest numbers of women living with and dying from cervical cancer.
In 2018, there were 569,000 cases of cervical cancer worldwide and 313,365 deaths, 80 per cent were in these countries.