Study: HPV vaccine highly-effective at preventing cancers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A new study has found that the HPV vaccine is highly-effective at preventing cancers in women. 

The Human Papillomavirus is one that can cause cancer such as cervical and head and neck.

“Frequently young people, young men and women, and that'll be the most common HPV related cancer in the next few years in the U.S.,” Dr. Kevin Ault with the University of Kansas Health System

A new preliminary report on the HPV vaccine came out in the International Journal of Cancer from Finland, one of the first countries that started using the HPV vaccine 15 years ago.

“There's a preliminary report from Finland that there's zero cancers in the women that were vaccinated 15 years ago when the initial group of women enrolled in the clinical trial and it wasn't just cervical cancer,” Ault said.

Ault, who is on the CDC vaccination advisory committee said these are the first results that show the impact of the vaccine.

“That study has been in the works for all those years and these are the first results really where you can see the HPV vaccine prevents cancer,” Ault said. “This is really proof that we prevent cancer, not just precancer changes but cancer.”

Doctors say these new developments are a big deal.

“Now, we really have a study that shows that it prevents cancer so yes, it's a very big deal,” he said.

According to the CDC, nine in 10 people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives, the majority are young adults.

While HPV cancers have been known to happen more in women, Ault said this statistic is changing.

“Cervical cancer rates keep drifting down and head and neck cancer are really skyrocketing, so that's going to be the more typical patient,” Ault said. “You're going to see it's more of a man's disease than a woman's disease.”

CDC recommends 11 to 12-year-olds get two doses of the HPV vaccine to protect against cancers by the virus.

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