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HPV and Cancer: Prevention is Paramount

October 1 to 7 marks the third annual HPV Prevention Week across Canada. The week is designed to increase awareness of the health effects caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and what can be done to help stop the spread.
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​HPV Prevention
HPV is common in both men and women and can be easily spread through sexual contact. Most people will contract HPV at some point in their lives so BC Cancer, the BC Centre for Disease Control and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre recommend getting vaccinated before becoming sexually active.  
 
HPV and Cancer
HPV is estimated to affect more than 75 per cent of sexually active men and women in their lifetime. The virus has been linked to genital warts and six different types of cancer including: cervical, vaginal, penile, anal, oropharyngeal, and vulvar. HPV can be prevented through vaccination. There are two types of HPV vaccines available in Canada: HPV9 vaccine is approved for use in both men and women and HPV2 vaccine is approved for use only in women. HPV9 vaccine is provided free to girls and boys in grade six through a school-based program. Research shows that vaccination is safe and effective and has already contributed to reducing rates of cervical cancer in British Columbia. 

Cervical Cancer Prevention
Almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV and it is one of the most preventable cancers. Regular screening, called a Pap test, in addition to vaccination is the key to preventing cervical cancer. The current HPV vaccine protects against seven types of the virus which can cause about 90 per cent of cervical cancers. Even with vaccination, anyone with a cervix (women and transgender individuals) between the ages of 25 - 69 are encouraged to get screened for cervical cancer every three years. It is estimated that 205 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019.

To learn more about the HPV vaccine, visit: immunizebc.ca/hpv 

To learn more about BC Cancer’s Cervix Screening Program, visit: bccancer.bc.ca/screening/cervix 



BC Cancer Agency; BC Centre for Disease Control; BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre
Women's Health
SOURCE: HPV and Cancer: Prevention is Paramount ( )
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