Women 'may not' need three doses of cervical cancer vaccine

The current cervical cancer treatment may be able to save more lives if the number of vaccine doses is reduced, according to the United States' National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Cervical cancer affects the lower part of the womb and is the third most common cancer among females worldwide. Human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 are a major cause of the disease, and researchers believe the current HPV 16/18 vaccine could be used differently.

Dr Kreimer believes the changes could save lives:

"An HPV vaccine program that provides fewer doses to more women could potentially reduce cervical cancer incidence more than a standard three-dose program that uses the same total number of doses but in fewer women," she commented.

The NCI study has demonstrated there are similar levels of protection in women who received one, two or all three doses.

Doctors currently administer the vaccine in three doses over a six-month period. The NCI believes the process is costly and can be difficult to complete.

According to NHS figures, each year around 2,800 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed.

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