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“Astounding” drop in cervical cancer rates in young women

Cervical cancer rates in women ages 20-24 have fallen an “astounding” 65 percent from 2012 through 2019, in the wake of the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, according to the American Cancer Society.

“The large drop in cervical cancer incidence is extremely exciting because this is the first group of women to receive the HPV vaccine, and it probably foreshadows steep reductions in other HPV-associated cancers,” said Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director, surveillance research at the American Cancer Society.

This is clear population-level evidence that vaccination can reduce cancer incidence and provides optimism for expanding research toward the development of additional cancer prevention vaccines. “Increased investment in strategies to harness the immune system in cancer prevention is warranted,” said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, senior vice president, surveillance and health equity science at the American Cancer Society.

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