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Make sure your daughters are protected against cervical cancer

You can read in our news section why one of my patients is backing Liverpool PCT’s campaign to give girls the HPV vaccine to protect them against cervical cancer later in life.

Sharon Oliver suffered from the disease ten years ago but through very specialised surgery here at Liverpool Women’s, we were able to save her fertility. Sadly that is not always the case which is why I urge parents with daughters to ensure they take the opportunity to have the HPV vaccine. This protects against the Human Papilloma Virus which has been identified as a cause of cancer.

The vaccine is highly effective and can prevent 3 out of 4 of the cervical cancers occurring in this country. All the evidence shows it works and that it is very safe. From my perspective, I see women of all ages every week with cervical cancer and I would much rather prevent the disease than have to treat it.

Girls aged 12 to 13 are now routinely offered HPV vaccine in year eight at school in the form of three injections which are best given over a period of six months. It is very important that the course is completed for full protection against the virus. Older girls up to the age of 18 who have missed out it on having it at school can get the vaccine free through their family doctor.

I also urge women to take advantage of the national cervical cancer screening programme.
The most common age group presenting with the disease used to be 35 - 45 but in the last ten years we have seen a significant increase in women aged 25-35. In its early stages, survival rates can be very high so it is vital that women of all backgrounds attend for screening.

22 September 2011