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Research Shows Lack Of Awareness And Cost Negatively Impacts Vaccination Rates: 90% Of Young Canadian Women Not Vaccinated Against Cervical Cancer

Young Canadian women are leaving themselves vulnerable to cervical cancer because they are unaware of the benefits of vaccination and feel the cost of the vaccine is prohibitive, according to a survey of young women and mothers released today.

Lack of Awareness is a major problem. The survey showed that 68% of young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25 have not received the cervical cancer vaccination because they do not know enough about it. A further 79% of young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25 say they would get a vaccine if it (the vaccine) was proven to prevent cancer.

Cost is Prohibitive
The survey also show that:
– 51% of young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25, who do not have a drug plan to help pay for the vaccination, say that cost is a significant barrier to getting the vaccine.
– 61% of moms, who do not have a drug plan to help pay for the vaccination, also claim cost to be a significant barrier to getting the vaccine for their daughters.

Recent survey results show nine out of ten young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25 have not been vaccinated against cervical cancer. The research is being released just before National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (October 24 to 30, 2010).

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?Young women are clearly not aware of how important it is to be vaccinated against this cancer,? said Dr. Joan Murphy, Head of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, co-Chair of The Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada?s Communities of Practice in Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control. ?Physicians, like myself, who see these cases every day know that vaccination alongside regular Pap screening offers strong protection against cervical cancer which can be deadly.?

?Prevention of cervical cancer through vaccination availability and education directed to young Canadian women is critical. Barriers such as cost needs to be addressed? expressed Dr. Deborah Hellyer, President of The Federation of Medical Women of Canada.

Additional Findings
The survey also reports that:
– 92% of young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25 agree if there was a way to prevent cancer, they would do it.
– 84% of moms with daughters between the ages of 18 and 25 would want them to get a vaccine if it (the vaccine) was proven to prevent cancer.
– 65% of young Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 25 who have not received the vaccine say they don?t engage in behaviour that would put them at risk.

Annually, 1,450 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, most under the age of 30, and 420 women will die due to the devastating effects of this disease.[1] This means, on average, that one Canadian woman will lose her life each day to cervical cancer. Among Canadian women aged 20 to 44, cervical cancer incidence ranks second only to breast cancer.[2]The research also shows one-in-five young women in this age group have already had an abnormal Pap test. The Pap test is an effective, widely used method for early detection of abnormal cell changes on the cervix that, if left untreated, could develop into cervical cancer.

?Through vaccination and regular Pap screening the risk of developing cervical cancer is significantly reduced. It?s vitally important that we use these survey results as a means to educate women,? said Dr. Murphy.

The Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada (GOC), The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) and The Society of Canadian Colposcopists (SCC) support the implementation of market research to assess public awareness, perceptions and behaviours related to important women?s health issues, such as cervical cancer and vaccination. The results of this survey provide valuable insight and will hopefully compel Canadian women to become more informed, get their Pap test and be vaccinated.

The survey was completed by Leger Marketing August 20 to 29, 2010 and was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Inc. It was conducted on-line and completed by 1,061 Canadian women 18 years of age or older. Specifically, 499 were young women between the ages of 18 and 25, and 562 respondents were mothers of daughters in that age category.

For more information about cervical cancer, view the video with Dr. Joan Murphy..

Reference:
[1] The Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2009. Page 12.
[2] Cancer in Young Adults in Canada 2006, Cancer Care Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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