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Cervical cancer link to STD

13th August 2007

A survey has revealed that the vast majority of women do not know most cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

cervical cancer

In a group of 1,600 women quizzed, it emerged that only 2.5% were aware that human papillomavirus was a risk factor for cervical cancer.

The results of the survey carried out for University College London were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers described the findings as “striking?, particularly because of recent publicity over the development of a HPV vaccine.

With more than 100 different types of HPV, they are the most common sexually transmitted disease and experts say that about 80% of sexually active women can expect to have an HPV infection at some point.

Two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, have been developed and shown to be effective against the most common strains of cervical cancer and in June it was recommended that teenage girls in the UK be vaccinated against HPV.

UCL research assistant Laura Marlow, the author of the latest study, said she expected a bigger increase in awareness of HPV following media coverage.

But she added: “If people don’t know about it, they can’t give fully informed consent to vaccination.?

The 2007 study shows a three-fold increase in awareness of HPV as a cause of cervical cancer compared to 2002 findings but added that the figure was still “extraordinarily low.?

Cancer Research UK’s health information manager Jenni MacDougall said it was essential that public knowledge of HPV kept pace with developments such as new vaccines.

 

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