Three-quarters of mothers in Britain want their young daughters to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer, a poll released on Wednesday showed.
Most of the women questioned in the survey by the charity Cancer Research UK think the best age to be immunised against the human papillomavirus (HPV) would be between 10-14 years old.
Although many of the mothers were concerned about possible side effects, only 12 percent said they were worried that having the jab would make their daughters more likely to become sexually active.
“The results are encouraging in that they show most parents approve of vaccinating girls at the age of 12,” Professor Jane Wardle, lead author of the survey, said in a statement.
“This suggests that a school-based programme of vaccination is likely to find approval among parents,” she added.
HPV is linked to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. It is a common infection that usually lasts only for a short time and produces no symptoms.
But in some women it can progress to cervical cancer, one of the commonest female cancers.
Each year 470,000 women around the world are diagnosed with the disease and 230,000, mostly in the developing world, die, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.
Two leading drugs companies have developed experimental cervical cancer vaccines.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc said earlier this month it would launch a head-to-head clinical trial of its Cervarix vaccine against Merck & Co’s Gardasil, which is already on the market.
Both vaccines have been shown to be highly effective against HPV in clinical trials.