'Worrying fall in number receiving HPV vaccine'
The uptake of the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine among first-year secondary school girls has dropped from 87pc to as low as 50pc in the space of two years.
HPV infection causes up to 420 cancer cases and up to 130 cancer deaths per year.
Most of these are potentially preventable by HPV vaccination.
Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, said the drop in numbers of girls getting the vaccine is "hugely concerning".
"If this worrying trend is not reversed, women will continue to die needlessly from HPV-caused cancers," he said.
The Irish Cancer Society are now calling for additional efforts and investment to both improve uptake of the HPV vaccination programme and to widen the programme to boys.
The cancer risk relates mainly to carcinomas of the cervix.
HPV infection is mainly spread through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity, and around 80pc of people will be infected at some point in their lives.