Women should have option to choose HPV vaccination - Federation of Medical Women calls for choices on International Women's Day


    OTTAWA, March 6 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the Federation of Medical
Women of Canada, every Canadian girl and woman should have the option to
choose whether or not to protect themselves against HPV diseases like cervical
cancer and genital warts. As it now stands, only those who can afford the HPV
vaccine have a real choice.
    The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recently
recommended that all Canadian girls and women aged 9 to 26 should be routinely
vaccinated with GARDASIL(TM) to protect them against the Human Papillomavirus
(HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. Studies have shown that
GARDASIL(TM) is 100 per cent effective at preventing disease from the HPV
types that account for 70 per cent of all cervical cancers and 90 per cent of
genital warts(1).
    "International Women's Day is the perfect time to talk about choices for
women and we want the Ontario government to make sure this new HPV vaccine is
an option for women in the province," said Dr. Gail Beck, President of the
Federation of Medical Women of Canada. "Minister George Smitherman took a
strong leadership position in favour of immunization when he took office after
the last election. The roadmap is there, we just need the Ontario government
to show leadership once again."

    HPV strikes women in the prime of their lives

    HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer and is linked to vaginal,
vulvar and anal cancers(2). Three in four (75 per cent) Canadians will get at
least one HPV infection in their lifetime(3), while 44.8 per cent of women
aged 20-24 in the United States are currently infected with HPV(4). Cervical
cancer is the second most common cancer in Canadian women aged 20-44 after
breast cancer(5).
    "Too many women are struck by HPV-related diseases in the prime of their
lives and our governments should be concerned about this important loss of
human potential," said Dr. Gail Beck. "To make changes that really matter, the
federal and provincial governments need to show true leadership and this new
HPV vaccine is an excellent opportunity for them to show Canadians how they
can work together for the benefit of girls and women across the country for
years to come."
    Last fall, 24-year-old Liz Ellwood discovered she had cervical cancer and
underwent a trachelectomy, a procedure that removes most of the cervix but
allows the patient to conceive and carry children. After learning how easy it
is to prevent what she is now going through, Ms. Ellwood became an HPV vaccine
    "If I got cervical cancer, anyone can. The HPV vaccine could save others
from the ordeal I went through," said Liz Ellwood. "If there is something
available that could prevent cancer, then it should be made available to as
many people as possible. In fact, every Canadian school girl should be
vaccinated and every sexually active woman should have this option as well."

    About the FMWC

    The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (FMWC) is a national
organization committed to the professional, social and personal advancement of
women physicians and to the promotion of the well-being of women both in the
medical profession and in society at large. Since its formation in 1924, the
FMWC has acted as a guardian for women physicians and medical students, giving
loans, mentoring and networking opportunities, and acting as an advocate for
women physicians and women's health in society. Most of the women physician
leaders in Canada have received their training and support through membership
in FMWC, which is an independent nation member of Medical Women's
International Association. For more information, visit www.fmwc.ca.


    (1) Efficacy of a Prophylactic Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
        (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) L1 Virus-Like Particle (VLP) Vaccine for
        Prevention of Cervical Dysplasia and External Genital Lesions (EGL).
        Presented by C. Sattler at the 45th Annual Interscience Conference on
        Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Washington, DC.
    (2) University of Florida Shands Cancer Centre Web site.
        (Accessed at http://www.ufscc.ufl.edu/Professional/cancernews.aspx?
    (3) Health Canada, It's Your Health HPV Web site.
        (Accessed at
    (4) Eileen F. Dunne et al. Prevalence of HPV Infection Among Females in
        the United States. JAMA. 2007;297;813-819.
    (5) Loraine D. Marrett, Jennifer Frood, Diane Nishri and Anne-Marie
        Ugnat. Cancer incidence in young adults in Canada: preliminary
        results of a cancer surveillance project. Chronic Diseases in Canada.
        Spring 2002. Volume 23 Number 2 (Accessed at

For further information:

For further information: Andrée Poirier, Executive Coordinator, FMWC,
(613) 569-5881, toll free: 1-877-771-3777, fmwcmain@fmwc.ca; Gail Beck, MD
President, FMWC, (613) 569-5881, toll free: 1-877-771-3777, fmwcmain@fmwc.ca

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