Three out of four adults will be infected with the Human Papillomavirus at some point in their life. Get vaccinated to reduce the risk of HPV and developing cervical cancer later in life.
Melanie Saunders: A cervical cancer diagnosis eight years ago was a shock for Linda Lewis, now a mother of two teenagers and editor-in-chief of More Magazine. Linda had likely contracted the Human Papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV,- the main cause of cervical cancer. Three out of four Canadian adults will be infected with HPV at some point in their life. Linda Lewis: When I found out that I had cervical cancer I was absolutely shocked and I had no idea that there’s this silent virus HPV that the vast majority of us are walking around with, and if it goes undetected it can lead to cervical cancer later in life. Melanie Saunders: Each year in Ontario, 500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 140 women die from the disease. Two years ago, a vaccine was approved by Health Canada to prevent infection against four types of HPV, two of which cause 70% of cervical cancers. Once again, the Ontario government is providing the HPV vaccine at no cost to all grade 8 girls as part of a school-based program this fall. Linda Lewis: It’s so important for parents to get informed about the HPV vaccine. My daughter witnessed me go through major surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for cervical cancer. I’m lucky to be here, and we now have a vaccine that can help prevent our daughter’s generation from ever having to go through that. Malanie Saunders: For Linda, the decision to have her daughter immunized was a simple one. Doctor Joan Murphy is head of cervical cancer and control for the Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists of Canada. She has seen the effects of cervical cancer and looks forward to a day when it is a disease of the past. Dr. Joan Murphy : The human papillomavirus is extremely common and is spread by sexual contact. Three out of four Canadian women and men will be affected by this virus at some point during their lifetime. This is a highly effective vaccine, and of course has its best effect, if given before the person becomes sexually active. It’s a major breakthrough in the fight against cervical cancer. Melanie Saunders: The Ontario HPV vaccination program will continue this September for all girls entering grade 8. This is the second year that the vaccine is being offered. The three doses of the vaccine will be administered over the course of the 2008-2009 school year during in-school immunization clinics. For more information visit HPVontario.ca or call INFOline at 1-866-559-4598. Melanie Saunders reporting.