FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2006 file photo, a doctor holds a vial of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil in his Chicago office. The proportion of oral cancers caused by the human papillomavirus has risen significantly in Canada, say researchers, who suggest the infection is now behind an estimated three-quarters of all such malignancies. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

HPV immunization program in B.C. cuts rates of pre-cancer in women: study

HPV is common in both men and women

Rates of cervical pre-cancer in women have been cut by more than half in British Columbia and the province’s school immunization program for the human papillomavirus is being given credit for the results.

A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases says those who took part in the program to prevent the sexually transmitted infection had a 57 per cent reduction in incidence of pre-cancer cells compared to unvaccinated women.

The program has been in place in public schools for 12 years and the first groups of women who were vaccinated in Grade 6 entered into the cervix screening program, allowing researchers to compare outcomes with those who hadn’t been vaccinated.

Dr. Gina Ogilvie, a senior research adviser at B.C. Women’s Hospital, says the study adds to the growing body of evidence highlighting the positive impact of the vaccine.

HPV is common in both men and women.

ALSO READ: HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls, study says

It can be easily spread through sexual contact and while most HPV infections clear up on their own, some pre-cancerous lesions can develop into cancer if not treated.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer says HPV immunization is offered to children in all provinces and territories, generally between grades 4 and 7.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the lower rates of pre-cancer shows the importance of having children immunized early.

“The dramatic success — pre-cancer rates dropping by over half, shows us the importance of having children immunized early to protect their lives,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

HPV has been identified as the cause of almost all cervical cancers.

The province implemented a voluntary publicly funded school-based HPV immunization program in 2008.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the study reinforces the importance of such school-based programs.

“The decline we are seeing in HPV-related cancer rates highlights how strong partnerships between school districts and health authorities can significantly improve the well-being of B.C. students.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 tests come back negative in remote First Nation community

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Wildway Farms open for business in Hagensborg

Local entrepreneurs Gwyneth Anderson and Joseph Battensby are hard at work at their new business

Young boy finds mask stolen during recent break-in

Gage Pootlass immediately took the mouse mask back to its rightful owner, Kathleen Booth

Bear gets into garbage at Thorsen Creek Landfill after waste disposed into wrong bin

A grizzly bear accessed garbage that was put in the wrong bin and ended up outside the electric fence

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Most Read