Women in Government back cervical cancer vaccine for sixth graders

Girls in Michigan as young as eleven years could be the first required to be vaccinated against cervical cancer under proposed mandatory legislation.

The legislation, which is the first of its kind, was sponsored by Republican state Senator Beverly Hammerstrom, who along with 12 female Senate colleagues from both parties has immediately supported the new law in the belief that they owe it to future generations to prevent cervical cancer.

The proposed law would mean girls entering sixth grade next year will be immunized against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes most cervical cancers and can also cause genital warts.

Cervical cancer is the number two most common cancer diagnosed each year, second only to breast cancer.

It is caused by persistent infection with a common and contagious virus, HPV.

HPV types 16, 18, 45 and 31 are responsible for 80 percent of all cervical cancers worldwide.

According to the American Cancer Society, 9,700 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, and more than a third of those women will die.

The vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June, and has been proven to be 100 percent effective against HPV.

Experts say the vaccine is most effective if given to girls before they become sexually active but it has created controversy with some conservative groups claiming the vaccine encourages promiscuity.

But advocates and the medical profession are adamant that all girls should have the vaccine and say it will eliminate cervical cancer.

It is expected that other states will follow Michigan's example as the majority of women in government are expected to recommend that all girls entering middle school get immunized against HPV.

More than twenty organizations from across the healthcare spectrum have united and formed The Partnership to End Cervical Cancer in order to ensure the immediate inclusion of cervical cancer vaccines as part of routine preventive healthcare for American women.

They have formed four key committees to address the major policy and public health challenges to ensuring access to vaccines for women and aim to play a leading role in the campaign to end cervical cancer.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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