The vaccine that protects against the Papilloma virus allows you to prevent various cancers: who it is intended for and why it is important
The vaccine that protects against a virus, the Papilloma virus or HPV, helps prevent various cancers. And it’s intended for teenagers. Every year in our country almost 6,500 cases of cancer are attributable to HPV: 2,365 to the uterine cervix, 1,900 to the oropharynx, 1,200 to the vulva, 500 to the penis, 300 to the anus and 200 to the vagina. These figures are enough to signal the importance of the protection that a vaccine that is intended and offered to the very young can offer.
“The prevalence of the infection is higher in women between the ages of 20 and 24 – recalls Adriana Bonifacino, President of IncontraDonna Onlus. The best known HPV cancer is that of the uterine cervix, the fifth most common cancer in under 50s.
Through vaccination it is possible to interrupt the chain that leads from infection to cancer at the origin and its extension to men allows to protect the female population as well as the male population more. Prophylaxis is also recommended in women from 25 years of age, using for the occasion the appointment with the first Pap test.
Indeed, it is important to increase not only vaccination rates, but also levels of adherence to cervical cancer screening. Depending on the program, the Pap test should be performed every three years from the age of 25 or the HPV test every 5 years from the age of 30-35 ”.
Why it is important to protect yourself
“Papilloma virus infection is the most frequent sexually transmitted infection – explains Giancarlo Icardi, Director of the School of Specialization in Hygiene and Medicine of the University of Genoa, former coordinator of the vaccines and vaccination policies group of the Italian Society of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (SITES). It is estimated that four out of five people are infected with the virus in their lifetime, both men and women, and the absence of symptoms promotes its spread.
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In about 80% of cases, HPV infection proceeds asymptomatically, because the body has the ability to eliminate the virus. In other cases, the immune system fails to defeat it, with serious consequences such as cancer. Generally, the time between infection and the onset of precancerous lesions is about 5 years, while the latency for the onset of cervical cancer can be decades. We have a very powerful weapon at our disposal: vaccination can prevent up to almost 90% of all HPV-related cancers in men and women ”.
The National Vaccine Prevention Plan highlights how public health today aims to achieve vaccination coverage in girls and boys in the twelfth year of life that reaches 95% for maximum protection from all directly related HPV diseases. preventable by vaccination.
“The Papilloma virus is the second leading cancer pathogen in the world – says Saverio Cinieri, Director of Medical Oncology and Breast Unit of the ‘Perrino’ Hospital in Brindisi and President-elect AIOM (Italian Association of Medical Oncology). Although most infections regress spontaneously, if they persist and become chronic, the infection can evolve over time into precancerous lesions and cancer. Vaccination is the most important weapon to defeat HPV-caused neoplasms.
Our scientific society supports the objectives established by the ‘Call to action’ promoted by the World Health Organization and the European Cancer Organization as well as by the ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’ of the European Commission: to erase cervical cancer (and all related Hpv ) by 2030. The actions to be implemented are precisely to vaccinate at least 90% of the target population and ensure that at least 90% of the target population has access to free cervical screenings ”.
A campaign to raise awareness of parents and adolescents
In order to improve vaccination coverage, both in females and in males, the awareness campaign “Did you book, right?”, Carried out by MSD and authorized by the Ministry of Health, kicks off.
The campaign foresees an intense digital activity using the main channels with the aim of raising awareness on the possibility that every parent has, by informing themselves correctly, of protecting their adolescent children from dangerous diseases such as HPV-related cancers.
In addition to the wide range of content available on the various channels, a new information portal will also be available, full of useful and immediate information on HPV-related diseases and prevention opportunities, including the possibility of consulting maps with anti-vaccination offers. -HPV in the various Italian regions.