Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting Indian women, cites WHO. It is estimated that approximately 200 women die everyday due to Cervical Cancer in India.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects the womb and the vagina. Other types of cancer are :
- Vaginal Cancer: 85% to 90% of vaginal cancers start in the lining of the vagina and often present no symptoms
- Vulvar Cancer: Burning, itching, painful urination or raw bumps could signal vulvar cancer which affects the inner edges of the vagina’s outer folds.
How can one protect against these cancers?
There is no treatment available that can cure an HPV infection so it’s important to know the options for detection and protection:
- Pap Test: This test looks for abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix before they have a chance to become precancerous or cancerous.
- Vaccination: Vaccination can help protect against cervical cancer and other HPV related diseases.
For most people, the body’s own defense system will clear the virus, but when it doesn’t, certain diseases can develop.
Protection with HPV Vaccine:
HPV vaccine may help guard against cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancers, genital warts and abnormal & precancerous cervical lesions. HPV vaccine needs to be given in 3 doses over a period of 6 months.
Who should receive HPV vaccine?
HPV vaccination is for girls around 9 years to women upto 45 years. It works best when given before any contact with HPV types contained in the vaccine. Consult your doctor if you should be vaccinated. If you are pregnant, your doctor might suggest this vaccination after the birth of the baby.
Please note: An individual cannot get HPV or any disease caused by HPV from the vaccination. That is because there is no live virus in the vaccines. Instead, HPV vaccine contains protein that helps the body’s immune system produce antibodies.
(Information Source: MSD Pharmaceuticals)