October 2, 2020
WEDNESDAY, September 30 (NBC News)—The HPV vaccine substantially reduces a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer, especially in women who were immunized at a younger age, a large Swedish study found.
The risk of developing cervical cancer was reduced by 88 percent in women who had been vaccinated before age 17, and by 53 percent in those vaccinated between ages 17 and 30, according to the study of nearly 1.7 million girls and women that was published in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
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HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people (one in four) are currently infected in the US. HPV is linked to almost all cervical cancer diagnoses, as well as at least five other types of cancer.
While many cases of HPV clear on their own, some develop into cancer — which can happen many years after becoming infected. It is impossible to know who will get cancer from HPV. Fortunately, a vaccine exists to protect against HPV-related cancers.