The much talked about ‘vaccine for cervical cancer’ which is actually a vaccine to prevent infection of the Human Papilloma virus or HPV may now have limited efficacy.
According to a new study, women over the age of 40 are not likely to benefit very much from the HPV vaccine, which reduces cervical cancer risk. The recommendation of the vaccine is for females ranging from age 9 to age 26.
According to the study conducted among Costa Rican women, it was found that HPV infections that were newly detected dropped with age: from 35% among women of ages 18 to 25 to 13.5% among women over 42 years of age.
These new infections cleared in about 2 years or so without treatment. Though cervical cancer is less prevalent among younger women than older women, the actual cancer develops a long time, even decades after the actual HPV infection. For this reason vaccinating older women is of little or no actual use.
According to the researcher Dr. Ana Cecilia Rodríguez, the lead author of the research paper says, “Because the HPV vaccine can only prevent infections, and these women are not getting that many new infections, the potential benefit of HPV vaccination among older women is very limited.”