This website is intended to answer questions you may have about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that can help protect against cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can be very serious and around 1,000 women die from it in the UK each year, but having the vaccine reduces the risk of getting cervical cancer by over 70%.
The site discusses What is cervical cancer? and The HPV vaccine and you, and answers some Frequently asked questions. The site also features Campaigns section with details of the Northern Ireland campaign and relevant links.
A routine test saved my life!
The tragedy of cervical cancer is that it is largely preventable by a simple vaccination, which is now being offered to school girls across Northern Ireland, and can be detected by regular cervical screening.
One person strongly advocating the HPV vaccine and cervical screening is cervical cancer survivor Claire Warden. Claire, 28 from Belfast, was diagnosed with cervical cancer after a routine smear test.
“I was just going for my regular smear test which I had every three years, so this was all very unexpected,” said Claire. “I had contacted my doctor for my results and they still hadn’t come back so I assumed everything was ok. I didn’t think I had any reason to be worried. However I was then contacted by the hospital who wanted me to come into see a doctor swiftly and it was then that I got the news that everything was not normal.
“I was told that I would need to go to a colposcopy clinic for further tests and one week later I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was absolutely shocked and very frightened.”
From then things moved very quickly for Claire. “I was brought in for an investigative procedure which showed that I had a tumour. As a result I had to have more invasive treatment. I was told there would be the possibility of a hysterectomy but thankfully the tumour was small and I was able to have an operation which removed the cervix without having to undergo either radiotherapy or chemotherapy.”
As screening caught the cancer early Claire’s treatment was successful, and she can have children if she chooses to.
Claire added: “I’d recommend that any girl offered the vaccine take the opportunity, it can save a lot of worry further down the line and it’s a very simple procedure.”