Health professionals from the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week by encouraging school girls to get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) and calling on women to ensure they take part in regular screening.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-30 January) starts on Sunday, and the occasion is being used to remind people that cervical cancer can kill. Regular screening and vaccinating young girls against HPV, however, helps save thousands of lives every year.
Pearl Greenwood, Immunisation Team Leader at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On the occasion of Cervical Cancer Prevention week, we can’t stress enough the importance of being vaccinated against HPV which causes 99% of all cervical cancers. We strongly advise all girls to get vaccinated to protect themselves against this virus. Our teams will shortly be visiting year 8 and 9 girls in schools in Lancashire to get them vaccinated. We also offer a flexible service for year 8 girls who are educated outside of mainstream schools so there is no reason that your child should not be vaccinated. Most forms of HPV go unnoticed because they are symptomless so prevention is the best form of protection. A simple injection protects you for life and could save your life
“We also advise women to undergo cervical screening which is not a test for cancer; this is also known as a smear test and we advise them to undergo this every three to five years. If these abnormalities are left untreated they can lead to cancer of the cervix. We know that on average cervical screening helps save the lives of approximately 4,500 women in England every year.”
Every day in the UK, 8 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer with 3 women dying as a result. It is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under. Despite this, more than 20 percent of women invited for screening do not attend. Cervical screening can prevent around 45 percent of cervical cancer cases in women in their 30s, rising with age to 75 percent in women in their 50s and 60s who attend regularly.
HPV is the name given to a family of viruses that affect the skin and membranes that line the body. The vaccine protects against the two types of the virus that cause over 70 percent of the cases of cervical cancer so the importance of the vaccination should not be underestimated. The Immunisation Team urges parents and guardians to allow their children to be protected against HPV. Schoolgirls are being encouraged to receive two doses of the vaccine to ensure they are fully protected. The first dose is given in year 8 and the second in year 9.
The Immunisation Team also vaccinates Year 10 and 11 boys and girls against Meningitis ACWY and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio). For more information, please call the HPV Immunisation Team on 01772 644499 or on 01282 628405.