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Free anti-cancer vaccine for women
As of yesterday, all women between the ages of 20 and 27 are eligible for free vaccines to protect against cervical cancer.
The vaccine protects against infection from the two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause genital warts and in turn can lead to the formation of cervical cancer.
All women born between January 1, 1985 and December 31, 1992 are now eligible to ask for and receive the vaccine from their GP for free until the end of 2013.
With the vaccine preventing 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases, Leif Vestergaard Pedersen, head of anti-cancer organisation Kræftens Bekæmpelse, says that the vaccine is a lifesaver.
“We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to prevent a very serious cancer and there are no arguments against taking up the offer. Along with screening, the HPV vaccine will give us a new generation without cervical cancer,” he said.
Three injections of the HPV vaccine are required in order to be fully protected from the virus. The vaccines ordinarily cost about 4,000 kroner.
The HPV vaccine has been given to all 12 year-old girls since 2008 as part of the standard vaccination program. An additional catch-up program was also introduced, offering the vaccines for free to girls born between 1993 and 1995.
But 19,000 girls did not take the offer up before it ended in 2009 which Tove Rønne, a medical consultant at the ministry of health, said was an expensive mistake.
“You can get the vaccines after 2013 but they won’t be free. You need to make sure you get all three vaccines but you are covered after getting the first two,” Rønne told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s worth remembering that the HPV vaccine does not protect against all forms of cervical cancer. Older women especially will have been exposed to the HPV virus so it is incredibly important that they attend their screenings.”
Women between the ages of 23 and 59 are offered free cervical cancer screenings every third year.
15,000 women are diagnosed every year with having cell changes that indicate pre-stages to cervical cancer, and 6,000 are operated on as a result.
A third of the 375 women that are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year die of the disease.