TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A new study shows the HPV vaccine could prevent cervical cancer.
A study published in The Lancet finds benefits extend even beyond those who get the vaccine.
“It’s really the one thing that will change the world. No one should get cervical cancer,” says Dr. Jill Hechtman, Medical Director of Tampa Obstetrics, Fertility & Gynecology.
But thousands do each and every year. Now, there’s real hope for those with HPV.
Analysis of the study, which includes 65 studies of 60-million people living in 14 different countries, shows a significant drop in the two strains of human papillomavirus that cause the majority of cervical cancers.
Dr. Hechtman says this is what doctors have been saying about the vaccine all along, and now more and more people are receiving it.
“With protection and screening, we could eliminate cervical cancer,” she says.
There’s more good news. When the HPV vaccine was first introduced, experts capped the age to effectively receive it at 28.
“They started to do more research and said, ‘Wow! Why can’t we take that a step further?’ And so now they are saying it can be effective until age 45, which is incredible!” says Dr. Hechtman.
The study also shows benefits from the vaccine extend even to those who have not been vaccinated, creating what’s called a herd-immunity effect.
“What it means is, when a bunch of people get the vaccine, that means the disease is less likely to be present because so many people are vaccinated. Really everyone should get the vaccine. With more people getting vaccinated, there’s less risk of transmission because more people are covered,” says Dr. Hechtman.
It’s all exciting news, but because cervical cancer is such an indolent cancer, and in often cases takes time for the cells to progress, it still could take years before it is completely eliminated.
“But, I really think we are heading in the right direction,” says Dr. Hechtman.
Dr. Hechtman suggests parents get their children, both boys and girls, vaccinated around age 11 or 12. If you get it before the age of 15 you only need to get two vaccines instead of three.