Science alone won’t end cervical cancer, even though we have a vaccine



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IN 2003, those of us deeply involved in the prevention of cervical cancer heard some astonishing news. Results of a four-year, placebo-controlled trial of a prototype vaccine for a form of the virus that causes this cancer, known as HPV-16, were out. Of the 2400 participants who had the active vaccine, not one acquired an HPV-16 infection. Not one. Twelve years into my career as an obstetrician-gynaecologist, I knew I was witnessing a miracle.

Today, 20 years later, this cancer continues to kill – one woman every 2 minutes – and cases are on the rise: 604,000 in 2020, projected…


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