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Cervical Cancer

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the detection rates for cervical cancers in women under 25 years old. (226880)

The incidence of cervical cancer in women under the age of 25 is very rare. In 2005, only 1.9 per cent. of all registrations of cervical cancer were in women aged under 25 and there were no deaths from cervical cancer in that age group.

Any women under 25 who are concerned about their risk of developing cervical cancer should contact their general practitioner or genito-urinary medicine clinic to discuss the matter.

In September 2008, we introduced a human papillomavirus immunisation programme to routinely vaccinate girls aged 12-13 years. Young women aged 17-18 will also be offered the vaccination during the current school year, and a catch-up of girls up to the age of 18 will commence next autumn. As the vaccine offers protection against the two virus types that cause 70 per cent. of all cervical cancers, we expect this immunisation programme to reduce cervical cancer rates in England over time. Experts estimate that the programme will save 400 lives a year.