The pharmaceutical company, GSK have enlisted the help of a girl pop band, the ‘Sugababes’ in order to improve market share of their vaccine product. This is being done as part of a ‘disease awareness’ campaign to reach a younger female target audience. Raising awareness for cervical cancer is clearly to be applauded; however, there is much expert debate as to whether the GSK product is the best option or provides the best protection against the disease. It is important that both boys and girls along with their parents are also aware of the alternative vaccines with potentially broader protection properties. Miss Adeola Olaitan’s plain English articles on HPV vaccination are an excellent source of information for people seeking informed choice.
The ‘Sugababes’, have been selected as the faces of ‘Fight Cervical Cancer in Style’, a national campaign to educate girls and women about cervical cancer so they can better understand their risk and how to reduce it. The campaign, developed by the makers of one of the vaccines (Cervarix), is being run in association with Jo’s Trust, the UK charity dedicated to cervical cancer.
Heidi Range of the ‘Sugababes’ says: “Having performed at Jade Goody’s wedding, cervical cancer is a subject we feel passionately about. We are proud to be supporting the campaign as it is important that girls and women realise how they could catch the virus that causes cervical cancer, as well as the steps they could take to reduce their risk.”
Many women believe that cervical cancer is hereditary, however, almost all cases are caused by a common virus HPV (human papillomavirus). The virus can be passed on through sexual contact, therefore girls and women are at risk as soon as they start having intimate relationships. The virus is usually cleared naturally by the immune system but sometimes it persists and can lead to cervical cancer.
Currently, eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and nearly three women die of the disease every day in the UK. It’s the most common cancer in women aged 20-29 and the second most common cancer in women under 35 years old. It is therefore important that girls and women are made aware of the risks of cervical cancer and the best ways to reduce their risk include a healthy lifestyle, cervical screening as well as vaccination.
Gynaecological Expert Comment
London’s leading female gynaecologist, Miss Adeola Olaitan says: “For several years cervical cancer has been regarded as one of those things you do not talk about or admit to having. It has been somewhat stigmatised because of its association with sexually acquired infections. The press coverage, compared to breast cancer, was negligible. Yet it remains an important cause of death and illness in young women.”
Adeola goes on to say: “Jade Goody’s decision to share her story has raised the profile of this potentially preventable disease and led to more women attending for cervical screening. I hope that the SugarBabe’s support for cervical cancer will continue to increase awareness and encourage more women to attend for screening and where appropriate, the vaccine.”
Anyone seeking expert medical advice including choice of vaccine can contact Adeola Olaitan by clicking on this request.