Cancer shock for schoolgirls

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SHOCK figures show five girls in every Derbyshire school year could die unnecessarily of cervical cancer, with more facing invasive treatment, unless more come forward for the cervical cancer jab.

NHS Derbyshire County have published the figures to act as a wake-up call to the two out of ten girls living in the county yet to start their human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine programme which helps protect them against the second biggest cancer killer of women in their 30s in the UK.

Now parents are being urged to advise their daughters not to delay in getting the life-saving vaccine because the HPV vaccine is most effective when it is given to girls before they are exposed to the virus so their immune system can build up resistance.

Jane Careless, immunisation lead for the trust, said: “Imagine if we had a vaccine against breast cancer, women would be queuing outside the surgery to get it.

“But this is exactly what this jab is – a jab to help protect against cancer, yet two in ten girls still aren’t coming forward to have it.

“If you take this figure and project it into the future, it’ll mean a lot of unnecessary tragedy and heartache for young women who would otherwise be enjoying the prime of their life, starting up a successful career or looking forward to starting a family.

“Having the jab doesn’t mean your child is sexually active, or will be anytime soon,” Ms Careless added.

“So we’d urge parents to focus their thoughts on the consequences of their child not having the jab as these can be fatal, and cervical cancer doesn’t discriminate.”

Girls aged between 12 and 18 are invited by their GP to have the jab and will need to have three doses of the vaccine to be fully protected.

The HPV vaccine can prevent at least 70 per cent of cervical cancers from developing.