Why all girls should have the HPV jab

It's hard to believe that it's nearly six months since Jade Goody died from cervical cancer.

I met and worked with Jade a few times and what always struck me was her utter devotion to her sons. She talked about them constantly, and it was always clear that everything she did was for them. It's an absolute tragedy that those two little boys should be growing up without their mum at their side.

Her legacy, of course, has been to encourage more women to have regular smear tests. But if you're the mum of a daughter aged 12-18,  this September the HPV vaccine is being rolled out across the UK. You can find out more about this here.

Incredibly, though, I know of a few mums who don't want their daughter to have the vaccine, because if they're younger they're not sexually active anyway so they can't see the point, and also because they're concerned about side-effects.

Of course the jab doesn't protect against all types of the virus that cause cervical cancer, and there are mild side-effects (stinging and soreness in the arm), although serious side-effects are rare.

But 3000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK each year. I can't think of any better reason to sign that permission slip.

written by Liz Jarvis