Irish don’t understand HPV, says research

Irish don’t understand HPV, says research

The number of cancer survivors in Ireland is set to double to almost 350,000 over the next 25 years but, at the same time, research shows that most Irish people have little understanding of a preventable virus that can cause cancer.

According to the National Cancer Survivorship Needs Assessment, Living With and Beyond Cancer, the needs of cancer survivors and their families are not being fully addressed and it says action needs to be taken to address more fully their needs and the needs of their families.

The assessment notes that both cancer and its treatments can have a range of adverse effects, while those affected may also face an increased risk of developing chronic conditions, or a worsening of pre-existing conditions.

It outlines the key challenges involved and concludes that survivors and those who are poorer, isolated, have co-morbid conditions, live alone or are elderly tend to have the greatest need.

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by MSD Ireland reveals that three out of four Irish adults do not fully understand what HPV is, despite it being so common that almost all sexually active men and women will likely become infected with the virus at some stage in their lives.

The Irish Cancer Society, Marie Keating Foundation and Cerviva is urging parents to be aware of how they can help to protect their sons and daughters against some HPV-related cancers through the National HPV Immunisation Programme.

For the first time this September, boys will be offered the HPV vaccine in their first year of secondary school, along with girls, to whom it was first offered in 2010.

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