Cervical cancer vaccination

Nov 7, 2022

Did you know that cervical cancer comes a close second to breast cancer?

Did you wear pink? Did you wear pink AND walk?

Seems everyone is aware that breast cancer is the commonest form of cancer among women.

But did you know that cervical cancer comes a close second, and is also responsible for the second most cancer deaths among women? And that there is a vaccine, commonly given when a girl is between the ages of 9 and 11, which significantly lowers the risk of contracting it?

If you have daughters, or granddaughters, do we have your attention now?

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), a woman’s lifetime risk of cervical cancer is 1 in 43. Let’s look at some other statistics.

According to the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness:

  • The prevalence of cervical cancer in South Africa is reported to be between 22.8 and 27 per 100 000 women as compared to the global average of 15.8.
  • Each year 5 743 new cases are reported in South Africa.
  • Approximately 3 000 women die each year in South Africa due to cervical cancer.
  • 99% of cervical cancer are associated with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).
  • Almost 7 in every 10 people will have HPV at some point in their lifetime.
  • Two strains of HPV (HPV -16 and HPV-18) are found to cause over 70% of cervical cancer cases.

So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise the importance of the HPV vaccination in protecting girls from contracting HPV and developing cervical cancer in later years.

Currently there is an ongoing campaign to vaccinate girls in Grade 5 (and over the age of 9) at government schools, free of charge. If your daughter or granddaughter attends a private school, the vaccination can be done privately.

And if your daughter or granddaughter is older than 11, and unvaccinated, does this mean it’s too late? Not at all – but it must be done before the age of 26. But earlier if possible.

So what are you waiting for? Action now could save a life later!
Consult your GP or local clinic for details.

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