Cervical Cancer And HPV Vaccination
Cervical cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), is the second most common cancer in India, with around 77,300 new cases being reported annually. Human Papilloma Virus causes about 91% of cervical cancers and there are over 100 different types of HPV, most of which are considered low-risk and do not cause cervical cancer. Some cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) are also caused by HPV.
Cervical cancer is especially prevalent in low-income and lower-middle-income countries where a number of factors like lack of awareness about the disease or safe sex practices or the need for regular screenings/pap smears, costs of treatment or the stigma and shame that is associated with pelvic examination contribute to women being diagnosed of the cancer in a much later, advanced stage of the disease.
The main symptoms of cervical cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge with a foul odour, and pelvic pain during intercourse. When detected, early stage cancer can be treated and cured. But more importantly, the disease can be prevented altogether because of an HPV Vaccine that was introduced in 2006 and recently added to the National Immunisation Schedule. There are currently 3 vaccines protecting against both HPV 16 and 18, which are known to cause more than 70% of cervical cancers.
The vaccine is administered in two doses to pubescent girls aged 9-15 years, and three doses to girls and women from up to 45 years. The vaccine is most effective when given at ages 11–12. Studies have already shown that the vaccine protects against HPV infection for at least 10 years, although experts believe the protection will last for much longer.
Vaccinated women will still need regular cervical cancer screening because the vaccine protects against most but not all HPV types that cause cervical cancer. Also, women who got the vaccine after becoming sexually active may not get the full benefit of the vaccine if they had already been exposed to HPV. The HPV vaccine works best when people are vaccinated before they become sexually active. However, a person should still get the vaccine even if they are already sexually active.
The greatest benefits of vaccination were seen in countries where more than 50% of the targeted population was vaccinated, and where girls were offered vaccination at multiple ages, to catch up on the older girls who had missed the introduction of the vaccine.HPV vaccination can prevent more than 32,000 of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers. Studies have shown it is 100% effective in the prevention of cervical precancers and noninvasive cervical cancers caused by HPV-16 and 18 in those not already exposed to those strains
The HPV vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who are moderately or severely ill or suffering from any severe allergies, including an allergy to yeast or latex or to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine.
For enquiries related to HPV Vaccination for Cervical Cancer, send a message to www.DivakarsHospital.com/contact
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