Vancouver, BC – It's easier than ever for parents to help protect their sons against several deadly forms of cancer now that the HPV vaccine is free for grade six boys.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and it can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. It can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women.
"People think cancer is a death sentence but it doesn't have to be," says Richmond mom Sandy Yun, a cancer survivor herself. She had her 14-year-old daughter immunized as a part of the B.C. program and was going to pay for her 11-year-old son get the vaccine, but now he'll be getting it for free. "I wouldn't want my kids, or anyone else, to go through what I went through. We have an easy way to protect our children from cancer, parents: this is a no-brainer."
Three out of four sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity with another person involving oral, genital or anal contact can get HPV.
"Most people infected with HPV don't show any symptoms and can pass the virus on to others without knowing it," says Dr. Meena Dawar, medical health officer, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). "Most often an HPV infection will clear on its own but sometimes HPV won't go away and cells infected with the virus can become cancerous."
Parents and caregivers will soon be receiving a letter from VCH through their children's' schools regarding upcoming immunization clinics for both girls and boys. People can also be immunized through health-care providers and local public health units.
To learn more about HPV, please visit HealthLink BC.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Tiffany Akins, Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health
Phone: (604) 708-5281
Cell: (604) 319-7530