It is an issue that has been made extremely current and relevant since Jade Goody’s untimely death from cervical cancer earlier in the year. Now women aged 18 to 54 are being given the opportunity to avoid the same devastating heartache Jade and her family went through after Boots - the high street’s most popular chemist - has introduced a new and possibly life saving service in its stores.
The health and beauty specialists will offer a vaccination service across no fewer than 134 of their outlets throughout England and Wales.
Unfortunately, sometimes keeping healthy can be expensive - and it is no different in this case as the service - which consists of three injections - costs £405. This will offer protection against two types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which accounts for approximately 70 per cent of all cervical cancer cases.
Women living in Bristol, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Taunton, Barnstaple and Salisbury will all be able to pop into their local Boots to purchase the life saving vaccinations.
Boots’ new service follows the rolling out of a new NHS programme designed to protect girls aged 12 to 18 with a vaccination, which was set up in September 2008.
Boots pharmacist Sachin Patel said, “Both research and improved awareness has shown that increased education about the HPV is making young women reassess their risk of developing cervical cancer.”
Jane Lyons, director of The Eve Appeal, which raises funds for research into gynaecological cancers, said, “In the long term this will help save women’s lives and importantly, help raise awareness of cervical and other gynaecological cancers.
“The service also provides a great opportunity to further stress the importance of the cervical screening programme, which women, even if they have been vaccinated, must still attend.”
Dr Anne Szarewski, clinical consultant at Cancer Research UK’s centre for epidemiology isalso supporting the new programme and commented that it was important to try and offer young girls the vaccine before they start having sex. However she added it was just as significant to offer the injection to older women as sometimes the body does not maintain an immune response to HPV.
However, Dr Szarewskis stressed the importance for women to continue to get smear tests to detect cervical cancer as the vaccine cannot be relied upon for 100 per cent protection.