According to the World Health Organisation, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and causes 500,000 new cases and 250,000 deaths each year.
Do you know what is the second most common cancer in women around the world? It’s cervical cancer. That’s what the World Health Organisation tells us. Every year, there are half a million new cases and 250,000 people die from it.
HPV vaccine is given to prevent cervical cancer. However, recently, researchers in the US are now saying that only one dose is needed instead of three.
What does that mean for us? Well, it will reduce costs and the delivery can be simpler. With that, more young people may get the vaccination. This is what the journal Cancer Prevention Research reports.
Girls and boys that are not yet sexually active are encouraged to take the HPV vaccine. However, statistic show a low percentage have had all 3 doses. From an American research from 2012, we can see that only 1/3 of American teenage girls completed all three doses. The percentage is less for American boys: less than 7%.
Mahboobeh Safaeian, an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA commented “Our findings suggest promise for simplified vaccine administration schedules that might be cheaper, simpler, and more likely to be implemented around the world.”
In the study, around 7500 Costa Rican women between the ages of 18-25 were suppose to get the complete 3 doses of HPV vaccine over a period of time. 20% of them failed to do so. The researchers took blood samples from some who received 1 dose and also from those who received 2-3 doses and did a comparison.
All the women had antibodies against HPV 16 and 18 irregardless of which group they were in. The researchers expected the vaccine to be effective up to 4 years, and they were right. That is how long the antibodies persisted in the blood of the participants. Those that had a single dose had slightly less antibodies but overall, the level of antibodies were stable over time.
GlaxoSmithKline and Merck are two pharmaceutical companies that makes this vaccine. Gardasil (by Merck) is the more popular choice in many countries, including USA. However, this study used Cervarix (by GlaxoSmithKline). A company representative for GlaxoSmithKline commented that the company will follow-up with the recent trial findings and they will make the information available for regulatory authorities and public health officials.
So if you are thinking of using Gardasil as your choice vaccine, you should not apply the findings of this study to your situation. Gardasil has not been tested for antibody response after a single dose.
It is still too early to make any formal changes to the vaccine’s dosage. However, the researchers are excited about the results as it could make a big difference for low income nations in the future. Reducing the number of doses would make it easier to administer the vaccination to the people there and also make it less expensive. In developing countries, cervical cancer occurs more than 85%. In terms of death caused by cancer, cervical cancer is very common in those areas. Oral, anal and cervical cancer is caused by HPV.