A mother’s attitude towards cervical screening has been seen to influence their daughter’s decision whether to have the HPV vaccine.
Following a survey in Manchester of 117,000 girls, researchers say the odds of a teenager having the HPV vaccine were three times higher if their mother had attended a cervical screening test within the past five years. Additional to this, the study also shows that daughters were more likely to have the test, if their mother received an abnormal result.
The cervical cancer vaccine was introduced within the UK in 2008, and is offered to girls with parental consent whilst in secondary school. It provides immunity to the sexually transmitted infection responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
Research assistant Angela Spencer, from the University of Manchester states “It shows there is a link within families and that targeting both mothers and daughters may have an influence on uptake of prevention programmes.”
Angela said the results suggest that a mother’s attitudes and behaviour with respect to her own cervical screening attendance or to preventive programmes in general, are important determinants in her decision to vaccinate her daughter, particularly at younger ages.
Dr Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, also states: “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.”