HPV Alliance


Purple House Cancer Support are members of the HPV Alliance, which was launched on the 9th August 2017.  The HPV Vaccination Alliance is a group of organisations that have come together to sign a contract against cancer, specifically HPV-related cancers.
Recent media coverage shows a fall-off in uptake of the HPV vaccine, which is offered to first-year second level school girls each year. The vaccine protects against strains of the HPV virus which cause seven in ten of all cases of cervical cancer, as well as a number of other cancers that affect men and women.
The HPV Vaccination Alliance has been set up ahead of the new school year and will see organisations from the health, children’s and women’s sectors come together to encourage everyone to look at the facts surrounding this life-saving vaccine.

The Alliance:
ENDORSES the HPV vaccine as a proven and safe way to protect from cancers which can destroy and end lives.

REALISES its obligation to do all we can to protect health and wellbeing by ensuring the facts prevail when it comes to the HPV vaccine.

PLEDGES to raise awareness of the HPV vaccine and its benefits in stopping cancer and saving lives.

The ability to spare our country’s children and adults the devastation of a cancer diagnosis is a reality. The Alliance believes it has a duty to act urgently to prevent future hardship and save lives.

The Alliance includes: Association of Medical Student’s Ireland, Barnardos, Boots, Cancer Information and Support Centre Limerick, Cancer Trials Ireland, CERVIVA, Children’s Rights Alliance, Cuan Cancer Social Support and Wellness Group, Cuisle Cancer Support Centre, Dublin Well Woman Centre, European Institute for Women’s Health, Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre, Irish Cancer Society, Irish College of General Practitioners, Irish Dental Association, Irish Family Planning Association, Irish Patients’ Association, Irish Pharmacy Union, Irish Medical Organisation, IPPOSI, Irish Science Teachers Association, Marie Keating Foundation, Men Against Cancer, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, National Cancer Control Programme, National Screening Service, NUI Galway – College of Medicine, Nursing and Health, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Purple House Cancer Support, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Spun Out, University College Dublin Virus Reference Laboratory and the Union of Students in Ireland.

About Human Papilloma Virus (HPV):

How many types of HPV are there?
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the name for a large group of related but different viruses. Approximately 18 types of the virus are known to cause cancers of one type or another with types 16 and 18 responsible for 7/10 of cervical cancers.

How common is HPV?
HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Most people never know that they have been infected and may give HPV to a partner without knowing it.

If HPV infection is so common, is it really that bad?
Generally, HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within two years. But some HPV infections will persist and cause certain cancers and other diseases. HPV can cause:
• cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;
• cancers of the penis in men;
• cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx) in women and men;
• pre-cancerous cervical lesions (so-called abnormal cells), which will affect 1 in 10 Irish women in their lifetime. This year over 6,500 women in Ireland will have procedures on their cervix for HPV driven disease;
• other strains of HPV can cause warts, including genital warts, in men and women.

Cervical Cancer
What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix, which is the opening to the uterus at the top of the vagina. It occurs when cells in the cervix become abnormal and grow at an uncontrolled rate. 99% of cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection of certain high risk types of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is acquired during sexual contact.
How common is cervical cancer?
Cervical Cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in women aged 25 to 39 years. In 2017, more than 90 Irish women will die from cervical cancer and a further 280 will need intensive treatment, such as surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, to help them overcome invasive cervical cancer. This treatment almost always results in infertility.
What are the survival rates for cervical cancer?
The survival rate across all different types and stages of cervical cancer after five years is 61.3% in Ireland (NCRI). Four in ten women with cervical cancer will not survive five years. Data from Eurostat indicate that mortality from cervical cancer in Ireland is above the EU-27 and EU-15 average. The average age at diagnosis is 46 years and of death is 56 years.

Cervical Screening:
Do smear tests protect as well as HPV vaccine?
No. HPV vaccine prevents precancer or cancer from developing.
Smear tests detect pre cancer or cancer that has occurred. Every year in Ireland over 6500 women are diagnosed with precancer of the cervix which requires hospital treatment and may lead to infertility problems, miscarriage and premature delivery.

Are smear tests needed after HPV vaccine?
The vaccine prevents 7 out of 10 of cancers. Smear tests are still requires after HPV vaccine to detect pre cancer or cancer of the cervix caused by HPV types not in the vaccine.
Vaccination together with cervical screening will save the lives of many women each year in Ireland.

How well does the HPV vaccine work?
The HPV vaccine works extremely well. Clinical trials showed the vaccines provided close to 100% protection against pre-cancers (which lead to an increased risk of cancer) and, for Gardasil, up to nine genital warts.

Is the vaccine safe?
HPV vaccine is a safe vaccine.
Cervical cancer can be prevented through the HPV vaccination by reducing the risk of infection by HPV strains known to cause this and other forms of cancer. Research by multiple independent, international experts analysing the 80 million people who have been vaccinated to date has found no difference in the rates of serious illnesses between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
The three vaccines are licensed by the Health Products Regulatory Authority and the European Medicines Agency. These agencies have strict procedures for the licensing and monitoring of all vaccines to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
The World Health Organisation Global Advisory Committee for Vaccine Safety (GACVS) has reviewed the evidence on the safety of Gardasil vaccine. The WHO concluded in December 2015 that Gardasil continues to have an excellent safety profile.
In November 2015 the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported

In November 2015 the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reported on a review of HPV vaccines. This report found no evidence the vaccine was linked to chronic fatigue like conditions.

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
Most girls have no problems after HPV vaccine. Side effects that are caused by the vaccine are:
1 in 10 girls will have pain, swelling and redness at the injection site and/or headache
1 in 100 girls will have nausea, pain in the vaccinated arm and mild fever.
These can be treated with paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 girls will have an itchy rash or hives.
Occasionally girls faint after getting an injection. They will be advised to sit down for 15 minutes after vaccination which helps prevent fainting.
Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare – 1 in 500,000 to 1 million.
Full details of all of the potential side effects can be found in the HSE information leaflet sent to parents.
A copy of this document can be found on http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/infomaterials/leafletstranslations/hpv1styr.html.


About Purple House Cancer Support

Purple House Cancer Support is to the forefront in providing a range of professional support services to people of all ages affected by Cancer in Ireland.

Our aim is to help rebuild the lives of families affected by Cancer. Purple House is at the heart of the community.

Founded in 1990, Purple House was the first Community based Cancer Support Centre in Ireland and today operates a busy range of support services from Purple House at Aubrey Court, Parnell Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow as well as Cancer Support Clinics in Park House, Library Road, Dun Laoghaire.

The professional services on offer include counselling, complimentary therapies, bereavement counselling, services for children & young adults including creative arts and one to one support, CLIMB programme for children, camps & workshops for children, health awareness programmes, classes in Yoga and Mindfulness, CheckMeOut.ie health awareness campaigns aimed at 18-30 year olds and more.

For a full list of services please visit www.purplehouse.ie


Comments are closed.