vaccineThe decision as to whether a young woman should receive the HPV inoculation can be heavily influenced by their mother’s views and experiences with the vaccine according to a new study by the University of Manchester.

Researchers from UoM looked at data from 117,000 girls to show that teenagers were at least three times more likely to have had the HPV vaccination if their mothers had been tested in the past five years.

The study, published in the European Journal of Cancer, also showed daughters were more likely to have been vaccinated if their mothers received an abnormal result.

Infection with the HPV virus can increase the risk of cervical cancer in women, and vaccination can help reduce rates of the disease.

Research assistant Angela Spencer believes the results show that a mother’s attitudes with respect to her own cervical screening attendance are a key determinant in her decision to vaccinate her daughter, particularly at younger ages.

“It shows there is a link within families and that targeting both mothers and daughters may have an influence on uptake of prevention programmes,” she added.

In the first UK study to link link cervical screening records and HPV vaccination records, researchers found that the uptake of HPV vaccination among 12-13-year-olds in those whose mothers had never been screened for cervical cancer was 58 per cent.

In the same age group whose mothers had been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years, the uptake was almost 84 per cent.

Further analysis showed mothers who had personally decided to stop screening were less likely to have vaccinated their daughters than those who had stopped for medical reasons.

Dr Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: “HPV vaccination and screening are the best ways of reducing the risk of cervical cancer.

“This study adds to our knowledge about the factors that affect vaccination behaviour, including the influence of family and friends. It’s important to ensure all women understand the importance of HPV vaccination and cervical screening and their role in saving lives.”

Posted 15/01/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com