Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has announced his support for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22nd – 28th January), as a Public Health Scotland study has revealed the effectiveness of vaccination as a prevention strategy.
The vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A programme of vaccination of girls against HPV began in Scotland in 2008. This week, Public Health Scotland research found that no cases of cervical cancer have been detected in fully-vaccinated women since the beginning of the programme.
Mr McArthur said:
“Vaccinating children against HPV has been one of the country’s biggest public health successes. Not just in reducing the risks from other cancers, but reducing cases of cervical cancer to zero among women who are fully vaccinated, the vaccine has exceeded all expectations.
“But progress is not overnight; cervical cancer is still a major killer. The pandemic has caused a drop in vaccine take-up in schools. It is crucial that parents help ensure that their children are vaccinated, and that any missed appointments are made up, especially now that boys are also being offered the vaccine for protection against other cancers.
“And for adults, I would encourage anyone who is offered a cervical cancer screening to take it up. One in three appointments are still missed. Early detection is still crucial for ensuring treatment effectiveness and good outcomes.”