Call to start cervical screening later

Plans to push back the recommended cervical cancer screening age from 18 to 25 have been bolstered by a major new Australian study.

Published Wednesday in the BMJ, the Queensland-wide study confirms Australia's pioneering HPV vaccination program is significantly reducing women's rates of precancerous lesions, and thus their cervical cancer risk.

Young women who were fully vaccinated against HPV had a 46% lower risk of developing high-grade cervical lesions compared with women who had not been vaccinated, the researchers reported.

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