I have wanted to write this post for a long time. I, always find something else that I can write about. But today, I will write about HPV.
HPV is short for Human Papilloma Virus, there are many different types of HPV, and some of them are cancerous.
My mother passed away two years ago. She died of cancer. She had a very rare cancer that been caused by HPV and that was very aggressive. It was her last wish that we would educate women and girls but also men and boys on the topic of HPV.
HPV is sexually transmittable and condoms do not represent a sufficient form of protection. This is the reason why it is important that women and girls once they have been sexually active in their lives go an have a PAP-smear at least once a year.
The most efficient protection against HPV is vaccination. In most countries, only girls are vaccinated, but in some places, parents are lucky they don’t have to lobby their doctors in order to protect their sons and their future partner(s) from HPV and cancers caused by HPV.
Even though women are most likely touched by HPV cancers there are some rare cancers caused by HPV that touch men, such as mouth and throat cancers or penile cancers.
Now, I know many people put forward the argument that their daughters will be more promiscuous or sexually active at a too young age if they receive an HPV-vaccination. But take a step back, vaccinating a girl when she is about 10 will protect her later in life, it is not so that she is sexually active before reaching the age of consent. Maybe she will only have one partner during her life, who will unknowingly infect her with HPV, or maybe she will have more than one without being promiscuous, maybe she will divorce, maybe she will be widowed and will have a new partner later on. If you really want to protect your daughter it won’t be through not vaccinating her.
I want to transmit my mom’s message. Vaccinate your daughters and if possible your sons. Get yourself checked regularly. Make sure your partner, wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin get checked regularly! Sadly a good diet, regular exercise, no smoking, no alcohol won’t keep cancers caused by HPV at bay.
In order to support my mother’s last wish. We created the Nicola Werner Association. Every year a research award is given to young researchers in the areas of virology, immunology and prevention of cancerous diseases.
In order to raise funds for this award, given yearly to researchers at Goustave Roussy and DKFZ Heidelberg, the Nicola Werner Association sells original copies of my mom’s art, organises a fundraising bike-ride every September, the Nicola Werner Challenge. For those who don’t want to buy art or participate in the bike-ride or want to support a bit more, we are now also fundraising on the side. I have the goal to raise 5000€ for the Research Award. And if all of my blog’s followers were to give 10€ each I’d surpass this goal quickly.