Cervical cancer can be prevented with a single injection, suggests study

cervical cancer, vaccination, indian express news

A single dose campaign is cheaper and easier than a multi-dose programme. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

New research on cervical cancer has brought to the fore an interesting observation. That a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can reduce the risk of developing the disease by more than a third. Published in the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, Cancer, the findings state that a single jab is pretty much as effective as multiple doses.

The tests were conducted on as many as 1,33,082 women and girls, of which half had been immunised with one, two or three injections. The girls aged between 15 and 19 years, who had received one or more doses, had lower rates of pre-invasive cervical disease, as opposed to those who had not been vaccinated. According to the study, in about five years, 2.65 per cent of unvaccinated teens developed pre-invasive cervical disease, compared to 1.62, 1.99 and 1.86 per cent of girls in the one, two and three-dose groups, respectively. It should be noted that the risk was also significantly lower in these groups: 36, 28 and 34 per cent respectively.

Dr Ana Rodriguez of The University of Texas — the author of the report — told international media that it is important to educate parents about the need to vaccinate their children. "This study shows the impact of vaccinating at younger ages and its lasting long-term protection against cervical cancer," she said.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women, and 90 per cent of deaths occur in the low and middle-income countries. The mortality rate can be globally reduced by prevention, early diagnosis, effective screening and treatment programmes, it says. Given that poorer countries do not have access to the vaccines, a single-dose administration campaign can become a big breakthrough. It will also be cheaper and easier than a multi-dose programme.

According to a research published in the Lancet Global Health, India recorded the highest estimated number of cervical cancer deaths in 2018, and along with China, contributed to about 35 per cent of global burden of cervical cancer cases and deaths.