Cervical cancer resulting from prior infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is a significant public health threat against young Japanese women. A national immunization plan to vaccinate 13~16 year old female students against HPV infection has been started in Japan since 2010, and may reach almost full coverage by the end of 2012. Older age females who may already be sexually active are not targeted by this plan but should follow safer sex practices as well as periodic screening of the cervix cytology to reduce their riskof developing cervical cancer. HPV vaccination alone does not offer full protection either, because only some HPV types are covered by the vaccines and the long-term efficacy of the vaccines has not been determined yet. Therefore, we did a survey at an international university in Japan to study the knowledge and attitude of female college students towards prevention of cervical cancer, to examine the age when they start sexual activity and other related attributes that may influence the risk of cervical cancer. We discuss the results of our survey and what they imply for the possible impact of an HPV immunization plan on the risk of cervical cancer in Japan, and conclude by an emphasis on the need to increase awareness among Japanese female adolescents and to enhance the cervical screening rates among older females who are already sexually active.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Cancer Research