How HPV can cause cervical cancer
Most HPV infections are harmless or cause genital warts, however some types can cause cervical cancer.
Most HPV infections clear up by themselves, but in some people the infection can last a long time. HPV infects the cells of the surface of the cervix where it can stay for many years without you knowing. The HPV virus can damage these cells leading to changes in their appearance. Over time, these changes can develop into cervical cancer.
Where is my cervix?
The cervix is the entrance to the womb (uterus) Here is a picture so you can see where your cervix is:
More about the Cervarix vaccine
How effective is HPV vaccine?
The vaccine is 99% effective in preventing the cervical abnormalities that can lead to cervical cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18.
How long does protection last for?
High levels of protection have been shown for at least six years in follow-up studies (and these studies will be continued for many years). Longer lasting protection is expected as antibody levels in vaccinated women have remained very high, well above the levels seen from natural infection in fact.
Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
As with most vaccines, the most common side effect is mild to moderate swelling, redness and pain at the site where the injection is given. Other mild side effects, such as slightly raised temperature, sickness, dizziness, diarrhoea and muscle aches have been reported.
Very rarely, as with most vaccines, some people have an allergic reaction soon after immunisation. This reaction may be a rash or itching affecting part or all of the body. The nurse will know how to treat this. It is not a reason to stop having HPV vaccinations.
Even more rarely, people can have a bad reaction, within a few minutes of the injection usually, with breathing difficulties and collapse. This is called an anaphylactic reaction. These are extremely rare and the nurse or doctor is trained to deal with vaccine anaphylactic reactions. Individuals recover completely with treatment, usually within a few.
Will the vaccine stop any medicine I’m taking from working?
There is no evidence that the vaccination reduces the effectiveness of any medicine or the contraceptive pill
What about girls who have allergies or other illnesses, can they still have the HPV vaccination?
There are very few individuals who cannot receive HPV vaccine. Problems like food allergies, asthma, eczema and hay fever do not prevent someone from having this vaccine. If you have any concerns, speak to your School Nurse, Michelle Perryman or your doctor.
Talk to your GP or The King’s School Nurse Michelle Perryman
This information has been taken from the Government immunisation website
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