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Monday, March 21, 2011

Men must also be involved in cervical cancer prevention : expert

Tabanan, Bali (ANTARA News) - Men also have to be involved in efforts to prevent the infection of women by the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer, an international anti-cancer official said.

"Since this cancer is a sexual-viral related disease, both men and women have to get their vaccination and this is also our concern," Prof Sr Lex Peter, chairman of the International Female Cancel Program, said here Saturday.

Peter made the statement when accompanying Indonesian Health Minister Endang R Sedyaningsih on a visit to a Community Health Center (Puskesmas) in downtown Tabanan, around 27 kilometers north-west of Denpasar.

The visit was part of activities conducted by participants of a conference of the Asia-Oceania Research Organization on Genital Infections and Neoplasm being held in Nusa Dua.

At the Puskesmas the conference participants witnessed a demonstration of the application of the visual inspection by acetate acid (VIA) method to prevent cervical cancer.

Peters is also a gynecologist at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He also did some research on the progress of cancer cells in woman`s reproductive organs in the last decade.

"We know that vaccine is a cure for this cancer causing virus. But the effectiveness is only 70 percent so far. It means that there is still a 30 percent failure rate and this may have been caused by many things. One of them is the woman`s male partner," he said.

In other words, he said, "Even if a woman has been vaccinated, it doesn`t mean she is absolutely free from cervical cancer. Remember, there is a 30 percent failure rate," he said.

He admitted the challenges of persuading men to be vaccinated against HPV. In the Netherlands itself, he said, it was still not so easy thing to do.

Another challenge was the medicine`s price that was still high. "It`s still very expensive even for Europeans, about 100 US dollars per vial, so may be the producers should do something to lower it," he said.

Other thing that made eradicating HPV difficult was the fact that HPV does not need an animal host to multiply. HPV was a so-called "smart" virus capable mutating.

"HPV enters the human body through skin, particularly the soft tissue inside our body. It may change and affect many organs, from cervical cancer to malfunction of kidney or brain," he said.

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