How HPV causes cancer - Cheshire East Council

HPV and
Cervical Cancer
What is cervical cancer ?
Cervical cancer occurs
in the cervix (the
entrance to the womb)
In England, about 750
women die from cervical
cancer every year
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
• HPV stands for human papillomavirus, which is
a type of virus infection
• these viruses are mainly spread by intimate
skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity
• they enter the surface of the genital skin,
vagina and cervix through tiny areas of damage
that cannot be seen
• boys can also catch HPV and they are mainly
responsible for transmitting it to girls
How HPV causes cancer
• most women will be infected with HPV at some
point in their lives without even being aware of it
• normally it goes away completely when the
immune system clears the virus from the cervix
• in some women the infection can stay in the
cervix for many years, causing cell damage
which if left untreated can develop into cancer
1. infectious virus particles enter
the cervix through tiny abrasions
3. the cell damage can be
seen by cervical screening
2. the virus mixes with the cells’ DNA
and spreads by invading other cells
Screening also
prevents cancer
HPV vaccination in Year 8
• HPV vaccine contains tiny particles that
pretend to be like the HPV virus, which helps
the body to protect itself by making antibodies
• girls who are vaccinated at age 12 or 13
develop antibody levels that are much higher
than those who are vaccinated at older ages
• because of this, girls in Year 8 will develop
protection that will last for at least twenty years
without needing another injection
What happens next ?
• before getting the vaccine, you will get a
leaflet and consent form to take home to read
and discuss with your parent or carer
• your parent is asked to sign the consent form
• it is important that you return the consent form
to school so that we can immunise you
• you will need three injections in your upper arm
over a period of six months
• the injections are given at school by a nurse
• you may feel stinging as the injection is given
• other side effects (in about 1 in 10 girls) include
headache or tiredness, or some soreness and
redness in your arm - which will soon go away
HPV vaccine is safe and
highly effective
It will give protection for at
least twenty years without
needing another injection
Having the vaccine
reduces the risk of getting
cervical cancer by 90%