Vaccines have been one of the most significant advancements in modern healthcare—they help protect ourselves from certain preventable infections and diseases. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the vaccines that are available so you can help take control of your health.
Enter human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, the first of which was authorized for use in Canada back in 2006 to help prevent certain HPV-related cancers and diseases.
HPV infection does not discriminate.
HPV is an incredibly common sexually transmitted virus. In fact, anyone who has ever been sexually active is at risk. It’s estimated that three in four sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime. And if you think your committed status makes you exempt, know that being in a monogamous relationship doesn’t always protect you from HPV. You or your partner could be infected without showing any signs or symptoms and then pass the virus on. Sure, some people infected with HPV will clear the virus on their own, but some others won’t, which could lead to cervical cancer or other HPV-related cancers and diseases.
HPV is responsible for nearly 100 percent of cervical cancer cases.
Did you know that cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among Canadian women aged 20 to 40? Every year, approximately 1,400 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed across the country. Its link to HPV is clear: When a woman is infected with certain types of HPV and the virus doesn’t clear on its own, abnormal and precancerous lesions can develop. Pap tests look for these abnormal cells, but if they aren’t detected early enough and treated, cancer could develop.
They didn’t think cervical cancer could happen to them.
The GARDASIL®9 team recently sat down with a group of Canadian women who were diagnosed with, or whose family member was diagnosed with, cervical cancer to discuss their experiences and what they learned along the way. These brave women shared their stories of courage, conviction and compassion. One woman, Heather*, revealed that she was completely shocked when she got her diagnosis at the age of 27, shortly after giving birth. “I was at the peak of happiness in my life,” she says. “In your 20s, you think you’re invincible; you definitely don’t think it could all be flipped upside down.”
Since her experience with cervical cancer, Heather has been working to raise awareness about cancers caused by HPV. Her message? There are vaccines available that can help protect you.
Help protect yourself.
Getting an HPV vaccine, like GARDASIL®9, can help protect against certain HPV types that can lead to cervical cancer as well as other HPV-related cancers and diseases. The best part is that many people can receive the HPV vaccination for free in Canada (public funding for GARDASIL®9 varies by province or territory and by age, so check with your local health agency to find out more about government coverage where you live). If you don’t qualify for public coverage, many private insurance plans will reimburse some or all of the cost of GARDASIL®9.
You can help take control of this aspect of your health with GARDASIL®9; if you’re a woman aged 18 to 45, get vaccinated to help prevent cervical cancer. To learn more, visit www.GARDASIL9.ca.
*Actual Canadian cervical cancer patient. May not be representative of all patients.
GARDASIL®9 helps protect girls and women 9 through 45 years of age against cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. GARDASIL®9 does not treat HPV infection or cervical cancer and may not protect everyone who gets vaccinated. Women should still get routine cervical cancer screening. Not recommended for use in pregnant women. Side effects and allergic reactions can occur.
® Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Used under license.
© 2020 Merck Canada Inc. All rights reserved.
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