The success of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination shows hope for eradicating cervical cancer in the future.
HPV causes most cervical cancers and there are over 100 types. Many women will actually be infected with HPV over the course of their lifetime, with no serious consequences. However, HPV still causes 850 deaths per year.
Vaccinations against the virus began over a decade ago and are available to girls ages 12 and 13 against four types of HPV, 16 and 18 – which are linked to more than 70% of cervical cancers, and six and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts.
Girls who miss the HPV jab at school can still get it for free on the NHS up to the age of 25, and it is also available privately, costing approximately £150 per dose. Boys aged 12-13 will also be offered the jab from September this year (2019).
A Lancet review of 60 million people has shown a fall in HPV cases and in pre-cancerous growths. Over decades, scientists suggest this should translate into a significant decline and even possible eradication of cancer.