News | Durkan welcomes HPV vaccine for boys and FIT bowel screening

Durkan welcomes HPV vaccine for boys and FIT bowel screening

SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has welcomed the announcement from the Department of Health, that FIT screening for bowel cancer and HPV vaccine for boys age 12-13, will be made available in Northern Ireland as soon as next year.

The Foyle MLA commented:

“I am delighted to see progress in the fight against cancer with the introduction of these two important initiatives and pleased to have played a small part in campaigning for these lifesaving improvements and ensuring their introduction here.

“We have seen huge successes under the girls’ HPV programme which has already reduced HPV related diseases here, in particular the cancer-causing types. Extending this programme to boys, effectively protects both men and women, making cervical cancer and other HPV diseases a thing of the past.

"The Department should give further consideration to a one off 'catch-up' scheme for boys still in school who would benefit from vaccination. It's important we do all we can to eradicate these conditions.

He continued:

“Last year I had written to the Permanent Secretary for Health, Richard Pengelly urging him to replace the FOB test with the more accurate FIT bowel screening. We know that if detected early this disease is both treatable and curable; so I am pleased to see the hard-fought efforts of campaigners come to fruition with the Department’s commitment to FIT.

“For too long Northern Ireland has lagged far behind its counterparts on these vitally important issues- whilst the introduction of both these initiatives is welcome it is long overdue. The next step now is to secure a cancer strategy. At the risk of repetition, the importance of a functioning government cannot be overstated- the earlier we can intervene on this issues, the more lives we can save.”

Mark H Durkan MLA

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