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Minister advocates for HPV awareness and vaccinations

Health minister, healthcare, Christina Yiannaki, Damianos
Health Minister Michael Damianos - International Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Awareness Day

Health Minister Michael Damianos on Monday expressed support for International Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Awareness Day, highlighting the importance of vaccinations and screenings in preventing HPV-related diseases and cancers.

Damianos also commended the efforts of the National Vaccination Advisory Committee and the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends, stressing the ministry’s commitment to providing free HPV vaccinations for children aged 11-13 and supporting new screening tests for early cancer detection.

He called for the active participation and collaboration of all stakeholders in the fight against HPV-related cancers, underlining “the importance of utilising available technology and capabilities to save lives.”

“The results of these efforts and the impact of vaccinations will emerge in a few decades, when vaccinated individuals will be over thirty years old,” the minister said.

“We recognise the ongoing need to strengthen prevention based on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The goal is nothing less than timely and appropriate treatment for individuals with pre-cancerous lesions or cancer.

“We now have the technology and capability to save lives from HPV-related cancers, especially cervical cancer, one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Let’s seize the opportunity,” Damianos concluded.

Speaking after him, the health ministry’s general director Christina Yiannaki explained that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and is transmitted primarily through direct contact with an infected individual.

“HPV is the second-most-common cancer in women after breast cancer,” she said. “It occurs between the ages of 14 and 44, with 28,600 cases reported annually. Almost half of women die from the disease.”

Furthermore, she said that Cyprus introduced the vaccine into the national vaccination programme in 2016.

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