CERVICAL cancer could potentially be eliminated with upgraded screening and jabs for children, say NHS experts.
In the new method, samples are checked for the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV causes cervical cancer and cancers in other genital areas by spreading through close skin-to-skin contact, usually during sex or oral sex.
Only cervical samples showing possible cell changes used to be tested for HPV. However, now cells are tested for HPV infection first and only those with the virus are examined for abnormal cells to spot the symptoms before cancer develops.
Research shows it picks up far more cases of pre-cancerous lesions and could prevent a quarter of the 2,500 new cervical cancer cases in England every year. In addition, all 12- and 13-year-olds in school year eight are offered a vaccine to protect against HPV. Last year, scientists predicted the new test and jabs could eliminate cervical cancer in most countries by the end of this century.
Cancer research expert Prof Peter Johnson said: ‘It is vitally important all eligible people attend for their screening appointments to keep themselves safe.
‘Combined with the success of the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls, we hope that cervical cancer can be eliminated altogether by the NHS in England.’
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: ‘We must ensure as many women benefit from this far more sensitive test.’
In 2018/19, 71.9 per cent of eligible UK women aged 25 to 64 were screened.