News Health

Wednesday 18 September 2019

'Vaccinate sons,' urges cancer survivor

Appeal: Cervical cancer survivor Eileen Rushe is determined her son Seamus will have the HPV vaccine. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
Appeal: Cervical cancer survivor Eileen Rushe is determined her son Seamus will have the HPV vaccine. Photo: Seamus Farrelly

Louise Walsh

A mother who has recently had the all-clear after battling cervical cancer has explained why she is determined to sign up her teenage son for the HPV vaccine, which is being rolled out by the HSE to boys for the first time this month.

Eileen Rushe (33), from Termonfeckin, Co Louth, is adamant her only child will get the vaccine to ensure he is protected from the same virus that gave her cervical cancer.

She was diagnosed with stage-three cancer last December, despite being treated for abnormal cervix cells over the previous 18 months.

Hesitation

After months of gruelling treatment, which sent her into early menopause, she received the all-clear in June - a week after her only child Seamus (13) made his Confirmation.

Now Eileen, who developed cervical cancer from contracting the HPV virus, is appealing to all parents to avail of the vaccine.

She said she could not understand the hesitation from many parents she meets in getting their child vaccinated.

"The HSE has started sending home the HPV information packs and I'd appeal to parents to read it," she said.

"I got cervical cancer from the HPV virus and last week my son Seamus has started first year in St Oliver's Community College, so I've no hesitation in signing him up for the vaccine.

"I have been taken aback at the amount of parents that I've met who are apprehensive about getting their sons vaccinated.

"Cancers such as oesophageal cancer decreased with the decline of smoking but there has been a huge increase in it again, linked to HPV."

Irish Independent

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