Leading experts will address concerns over the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine at a public talk in the city next week.
The talk, entitled The HPV Vaccine: Warts and All will take place in the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, on Tuesday August 23 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
An estimated 90 women will die from cervical cancer in Ireland this year. Some 280 more will be diagnosed with this serious cancer, with four in 10 of these succumbing to the disease within five years. A further 6,500 will need hospital treatment to remove precancerous growths in their cervix. All of these conditions are caused by human papillomavirus.
A national HPV vaccination programme started in 2010. First year secondary school girls in Ireland are offered the vaccine, which protects against the major strains of the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer.
There has been much media discussion about claims of effects of the HPV vaccine in some teenage girls, giving rise to significant safety fears among parents. However there has been little discussion of the huge potential for this vaccine to help eliminate an important cause of cancer and the proven medical facts pertaining to the safety of this vaccine.
The Irish Cancer Society is concerned that parents need more information to fully understand the risks of HPV-associated cancers, and need to hear from knowledgeable experts on the vaccine and its safety as they consider consent for their daughters to receive this vaccine.
The HPV Vaccine: Warts and All will seek to give a complete picture of the importance of the HPV vaccination programme by providing access to expert speakers on a local and global scale.
Speakers at the talk include Professor Margaret Stanley, OBE, University of Cambridge, whose research focuses on the development of vaccines and immunotherapies against HPV; Dr Michael O'Leary, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Galway University Hospital; and Dr Robert O’Connor, head of research at the Irish Cancer Society, who will moderate the discusson.
“We are at a unique time in the battle to prevent cancer," Dr O'Connor said. "For the first time, a simple injection holds the promise of bringing us close to the future elimination of a specific cause of cancer. Parents have been asking us whether they should vaccinate their children and why. Our Decoding Cancer event will bring in the experts to help parents make a vital and informed choice for the health of their children and future generations.”
The event is being held as part of the Irish Cancer Society’s ‘Decoding Cancer’ series of public talks, which aims to dispel some of the myths around cancer and explore the many advances being made through research in prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship.