The WA Department of Health is reminding young women that there is still time to get a free cervical cancer vaccine to protect against the potentially-deadly disease
Department of Health Sexual Health Physician Dr Lewis Marshall said about 80 women developed cervical cancer in WA each year and about 25 women died from the disease.
Gardasil protects against some strains of the sexually transmitted infection human papilloma virus (HPV) which, if left undetected, can lead to cervical cancer.
"More than half of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer in WA each year are in their forties or younger," Dr Marshall said.
"Gardasil is administered as a series of three injections over a period of four to six months and it can prevent up to 70 per cent of cervical cancers caused by infection by HPV."
Since July 2007, the Government has offered women aged 12 to 26 free Gardasil vaccines; however the free offer expires on 30 June 2009; after that the vaccine will cost around $450 per course.
Dr Marshall said HPV infections in the community were more common than many people realised and urged young women who have not taken advantage of the joint State and Commonwealth offer of free vaccinations to see their GP before the deadline expired.
(Source: Government of Western Australia Department of Health: June 2009)