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UK women 'unaware' of HPV cancer link

According to research published in the British Journal of Cancer, a large majority of UK women did not know that most cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

According to research published in the British Journal of Cancer, a large majority of UK women did not know that most cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

In a survey of 1,600 women, only 2.5 per cent cited human papillomavirus (HPV) as a risk factor for cervical cancer. Researchers said the results were "striking" considering recent publicity over the development of a HPV vaccine.

Merck & Co's Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Cervarix HPV vaccines have both demonstrated efficacy against the strains most commonly linked with cervical cancer. Gardasil reached market first.

In June 2007, advisors to the UK government recommended vaccinating girls aged between 12 and 13 years and also suggested that HPV testing should be combined with cervical screening.

The survey which was performed at the beginning of 2007 showed a three-fold increase in the number of women who were able to list HPV as a cause of the infection - but the figure is still "extraordinarily low", concluded the researchers.

13th August 2007

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