Superdrug is extending vaccinations to even more nursing clinics after seeing a service uptake for the vaccine increase by 224% over the last two months. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women aged 35 and under and since almost all cases of cervical cancer (99.7%) are caused by persistent infections with the Human Papilloma Virus, Superdrug have decided to offer the service
The in-store HPV vaccination service is priced at £150 per dose and is suitable for patients aged between 9 and 26 and depending on age, two or three doses are recommended. As of this week it is available in 49 stores nationwide and will be available in 62 by March. Cancer Research UK is projecting that cancer rates will climb nearly six times faster in women than in men over the next 20 years with the projected incidence for cervical cancer being identified as one of the highest rising rates.
HPV is a very common infection that four out of five sexually active adults will come into contact with in their lifetime. The infection often clears by itself due to the body's immune response but in some cases the infection persists and remains unnoticed. In some, the HPV virus can cause genital warts and for others the virus can damage the cells' DNA and causes cells to start dividing and growing out of control and this can lead to cancer.
Currently all girls afed 12 to 13 are offered the HPV vaccination on the NHS (something that I REALLY recommend for any parents or older siblings reading this!) but for anyone that missed the opportunity when it was offered to them and now wants the jab, it's great that Superdrug are now offering it and something that I think we ALL need to take up.
And it might not just be for women either. It's not routinely provided to teenage boys but it is highly beneficial for young men. HPV is associated with certain types of penile, anal and throat cancer as well as genital warts.
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust said: "The Human Papillomavirus Vaccination offers one of the best forms of protection against cervical cancer. Uptake of the free vaccination, offered through the NHS childhood vaccination programme, is currently at 86% and increasing each year which is extremely positive to see. Research has shown that if uptake of the vaccination continues at over 80% we could see a two thirds reduction in cervical cancer incidence in women under 30 by 2025.
Cervical cancer is largely preventable however every day nine women are diagnosed with the disease and two will sadly lose their lives. I would encourage all women to take steps to protect themselves against cervical cancer and it is excellent to see Superdrug provisions that opportunity."
I was very lucky and was offered the Cervical Cancer jab on the NHS when I was at school aged 17, since then my sister and most of my friends have had it and that is really great. But I know that there are a lot of people out there who haven't yet had the opportunity and so I wanted to share this story for them.
I also wanted to say quickly that I am aware that there is often a stigma attached to the cervical cancer jab as a lot of people consider HPV a sexually transmitted disease and therefore something that only 'sluts' (HATE THAT WORD) are likely to get it. This is NOT true. Four in five people will come into contact with it in their lifetime. Men carry it too and it's silent, it's not an indication of anything at all and is simply a fact of life. Getting the jab is so important, if you get the opportunity and are still yet to have it, then PLEASE get down to Superdrug.