B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

B.C. has one of the lowest provincial registration rates across Canada for the HPV vaccination program.

At below 67 per cent, B.C. Cancer officials are both concerned and mystified why a research-proven treatment against a virus that causes cervical cancer doesn’t have a greater participation uptake.

John Spinelli, vice-president, population oncology with B.C. Cancer, says a joint effort this year by his organization along with B.C. Centre for Disease Control, B.C. Women’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority aims to raise the vaccine program enrolment rate.

Parents and caregivers for Grade 6 boys and girls will receive a consent letter for their children to be administered the HPV vaccine.

“We obviously want to see that vaccine participation rate as high as possible,” he said.

Related: Confronted by a cervical cancer diagnosis

He said about 200 women in B.C. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 50 die from it.

“It’s not necessarily a huge type of cancer in terms of the numbers impacted, but this vaccine can help prevent it from occurring,” Spinelli said.

“The more we learn about viruses and how they increase the occurrence of specific types of cancer, the more we can look at specific vaccinations that eliminate those virus risks, that following this path will help detect and reduce other forms of cancer in conjunction with improving early detection cancer screening initiatives.

“That is the hope but we are not there yet. Right now it is about early detection and lifestyle prevention measures, such as not smoking, where the success stories are.”

Spinelli said the Internet offers a soundboard for many to voice their health concerns about the HPV vaccination, most of which are discounted by science and research results on an international scale.

“We just want to get the message out there this vaccine is a safe program, it’s been around for a long time, is effective, and actually prevents people from getting this form of cancer,” he said.

Spinelli thinks a correlation exists among many parents that administering the vaccine leads to sexual promiscuity among youth, an accusation he says that has no conclusive research merit.

He says the connection of the virus being sexually transmitted plays into those fears.

“There is no evidence that this actually happens and I would be shocked if it really was the case,” he said about the promiscuity connection.

The HPV vaccine was originally administered to Grade 6 girls, an age where it was felt the vaccine would have the most benefit before youth become more sexually active, which diminishes the impact of the vaccine.

It was extended to include boys, Spinelli added, because it provides added protection for girls and also there were rare cases where the virus was found to cause cancer in males.

“The girls are generally most at risk but what we have learned over time is it was also beneficial for boys to be vaccinated as well,” he said.

For more information about the HPV vaccine, check out www.immunizebc.ca.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton family giving back to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

The mother of a young Penticton cancer fighter wants to support the people that helped the family

Tough battles for Penticton Secondary Lakers at basketball tourney

Lakers lose last three games after opening round win at Fulton tournament

Winners at Okanagan squash tourney

Okanagan players turned in a strong showing at Penticton Squash Tournament

Penticton adding heritage conservation areas to OCP

Residents of Windsor Avenue and the K Streets invited to consider heritage designation

Living life to the fullest with Alzheimer’s – an Okanagan couple’s story

Stella Adams and Willi Brombach are making their way through the uncharted waters of Alzheimer’s

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read