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Cervical cancer treatment to control disease

Scientists are confident that the new cervical cancer treatments being developed will help to bring the global problem under control.

The second most common form of the disease in women across the world, cervical cancer affects around 3,000 British women every year.

However, Professor Mark Schiffman, a researcher at the US National Cancer Institute, is confident that the "enlarging repertoire" of prevention options has potential to reduce the number of cases.

Writing in the medical journal the Lancet, Professor Schiffman and his colleagues refer to vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), a major cause of cervical cancer.

For example, one such vaccine - Gardasil - is currently being considered by the Department of Health for a vaccination programme of 12 and 13-year-old girls.

The researchers wrote: "Because of the importance of the [cervical cancer] problem and the feasibility of ameliorating it, we hope to see a major decrease in the numbers of women affected with this cancer within our lifetimes."

Ed Yong, health information officer at the charity Cancer Research UK, commented: "Vaccines against HPV are an exciting development and they could help to prevent about 70 per cent of cervical cancers in the future.

"But there are many questions about the vaccines that still need to be answered, including how long the immunity they provide lasts for. For the moment, going for cervical screening is the best way of preventing cervical cancer and even with the vaccines around, it will still have an important role to play."

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Cervical cancer treatment to control disease
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