One-Third Of Canadian Women Believe HPV Vaccines Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture

More than one-third of Canadian women believe that human papillomavirusvaccines prevent ovarian cancer, and about 25% of women believe routinePap tests detect ovarian cancer, a survey commissioned by Ovarian Cancer Canada found, Toronto's Globe and Mailreports. HPV vaccines can prevent infection of some humanpapillomavirus strains that can lead to cervical cancer, and Pap testsare conducted to detect early signs of cervical cancer, according tothe Globe and Mail. The survey indicated confusion amongwomen about gynecological cancers, Elizabeth Ross, CEO of OvarianCancer Canada, said (Picard, Globe and Mail, 9/4).

The American Cancer Society, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologistsin June announced recommendations for identifying symptoms that couldsignal the early stages of ovarian cancer. Experts from the groupscalled on women who experience the symptoms -- which include bloating,pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly,and a frequent or urgent need to urinate -- every day for two to threeweeks to see a gynecologist.


According to the specialists, womenwho have the symptoms should visit a gynecologist for a pelvic andrectal exam. If the exams suggest a possibility of ovarian cancer, thenext step would be a transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test to detectCA125, a substance that is often elevated in women who have ovariancancer (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 6/14). According to the Globe and Mail,20% of women in the Canadian survey believed the CA125 test is used toscreen for ovarian cancer, but it actually is used to mark ovariancancer tumors.

"It is critical that young women know that theHPV vaccine and Pap tests for cervical cancers are not catchalls fordiseases below the waist," Barbara Vanderhyden, the Corinne Boyer chairin ovarian cancer research at the University of Ottawa,said. Vanderhyden added that she is concerned many girls and youngwomen will believe gynecological exams are not necessary if they havereceived an HPV vaccine. Ross said that the best way for women todetect ovarian cancer is to be aware of the symptoms.

An estimated 2,400 Canadian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and 1,700 will die of the disease, the Globe and Mail reports (Globe and Mail, 9/4).

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