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We have been working hard to help improve HPV immunization rates because early indications were very positive that this vaccine can dramatically reduce the risk of HPV-associated cancers. Now, this study confirms our support and even anticipates a future in which cervical cancer can be eliminated.

UNM study: HPV vaccine 'better than we ever could have imagined'

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer

Updated: Thursday, September 29th, 2016 at 9:01pm

Copyright©2016 Albuquerque Journal

The incidence of abnormal growths that can lead to cervical cancer fell by more than half among teenage girls in New Mexico from 2007 to 2014, a new study found.

The University of New Mexico study provides strong evidence for the effectiveness of vaccines that target the human papilloma virus, or HPV, that causes most cervical cancers, the study’s lead author said.

"If you take everything combined, the vaccines are better than we ever could have imagined," said Dr. Cosette Wheeler, a researcher at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The steep declines suggest that the vaccine offers "herd immunity" by lowering the amount of virus in the population, offering protection to women who have not received the vaccination, Wheeler said.

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