WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 12, 2011
YOUNG GIRLS PUTTINGTHEMSELVES AT RISK OF CERVICAL CANCER
City of Greater Bendigo Director of CommunityWellbeing Pauline Gordon is urging young girls in Greater Bendigo not to becomecomplacent when it comes to their health, as alarming figures show only threeout of four girls in Victoria are completing the three-dose humanpapillomavirus (HPV) immunisation course, despite it protecting against 70 percent of cervical cancers.
“Vaccine coverage rates released by the NationalHPV Vaccination Program Register show that although 83 per cent of girls aged12-13 have the first injection, only 73 per cent of them go on to have thesecond and third dose, meaning they are not fully protected.
“Having the three vaccinesis the best step girls can take to reduce their chances of developingHPV-related illnesses later in life.
“HPV is a sexuallytransmitted infection that four out of five men and women will contract at somepoint in their lives. For the vaccine to be effective, it must be administeredbefore exposure to the virus has taken place. That is why it’s best to immunisegirls from a young age, before they have become sexually active.
“The fact that onlythree quarters of eligible girls are having all three doses is extremelyworrying, particularly when preliminary research has shown the enormous scopeof the vaccine in reducing the number of cervical cancer diagnoses in Australia.
“Taking this precautionnow means much higher protection against this deadly disease in the future,”said Ms Gordon.
Since 2007 the HPV vaccine has been provided toVictorian girls in their first year of secondary school as part of the NationalImmunisation Program. The combined three doses, given within a six monthperiod, protect against four types of HPV which cause around 70 per centof cervical cancers and 90 per cent of genital warts.
‘In the City of GreaterBendigo girls who have the first injection in Year 7 have until the end of Year8 to complete the course for free. Any dose taken after that time will need tobe purchased at a cost of approximately $150 each.
‘We encourage any girlwho has missed out on receiving a dose at school to contact Angela Evans at theCity of Greater Bendigoon 54346364 to get information on the vaccine catch-up sessions that areavailable,” Ms Gordon said.
Australia already has one of the lowest rates of cervical cancer in the worldthanks to the success of the National Cervical Screening Program, with around700 women being diagnosed each year.
To find out more please visit www.cervicalcancervaccine.org.au or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.
HPV Vaccine: Fast Facts
· Protects against four types of human papillomavirus(HPV) that causes 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts
· Is provided for free to all girls aged 12-13 aspart of the National Immunisation Program. Girls of this age who miss a dose atschool can still access the vaccine from their GP or local council immunisationprovider
· The vaccine is given in three doses over a sixmonth interval, ideally at 0, 2 and 6 months
· The vaccine is most effective if given beforeexposure to the HPV virus, that is before any sexual contact with anotherperson
· The vaccine doesn’t protect against other sexuallytransmitted infections or pregnancy, so always use a condom
· Even after having the vaccination, regular Paptests are still recommended for women aged 18 – 69 to help further protectagainst cervical cancer
- To find out more visit www.cervicalcancervaccine.org.au