Sunday 11 December 2016

Ignore claims of side-effects - the HPV jab could save your daughter's life

Dr Robert O'Connor

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

Two to three doses of this vaccine can change a woman’s future. It can save a woman’s life. Photo: PA
Two to three doses of this vaccine can change a woman’s future. It can save a woman’s life. Photo: PA

Two years ago, Aoife Harrington received devastating news. Then just 24 years old, the Mayo native was living in Abu Dhabi and enjoying her carefree youth and freedom. But that all changed when her doctor told her she had cervical cancer.

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Hearing the emotional stories of cancer patients is nothing new to my colleagues and I in the Irish Cancer Society. But when Aoife bravely stepped forward to speak about her diagnosis and treatment on Today FM's 'Anton Savage Show' last Thursday, her account was particularly poignant. If she was just a few years younger, her cancer could have been prevented by something as simple as a needle.

In 2010, for the first time, Irish secondary school girls were offered the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine for free under the HSE's national vaccination programme. Since then, the vaccine has been offered to first year schoolgirls each September, and more than 220,000 Irish girls have received it.

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