Monday, May 27, 2024

Local Health Authorities Advocate for HPV Vaccine to Combat Rising Oral Cancer Rates

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is actively encouraging families to get their children vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) this month, highlighting the vaccine’s significant role in preventing not only cervical cancer but increasingly prevalent oral cancers as well.

In an effort to combat the growing incidence of oral and throat cancers, HPEPH emphasizes the critical need for HPV vaccination among youths. “As oral health program manager, I must stress the mounting evidence linking HPV infections to these types of cancers,” stated Kelly Palmateer. The push for awareness and vaccination comes in tandem with new findings on the virus’s broader implications beyond cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine is widely recognized for its effectiveness in cervical cancer prevention. Yet, public awareness about its efficacy in preventing oral cancers remains low. “This Oral Health Month, we aim to educate parents on the comprehensive benefits of HPV vaccinations, which are safe, free, and crucial for cancer prevention,” Palmateer added. He further noted the importance of seizing the opportunity to protect children’s long-term health through vaccination.

In local schools, the HPV vaccine is typically offered to students in Grade 7, though any student can receive it through public funding before finishing high school. For more details on the HPV vaccine or to schedule a vaccination appointment, families are encouraged to visit the HPEPH website at hpePublicHealth.ca/clinic/immunization-clinic. By fostering greater understanding and uptake of the HPV vaccine, HPEPH hopes to significantly reduce the future burden of oral cancers among the younger population.

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