Lifesaving Vaccine to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Vaccine: A great boon!
For us doctors, the Human Papilloma Vaccine is a great boon in the prevention of cervical cancer. This major breakthrough is like a streak of light in the treatment of a deadly disease like cancer.
The statistics of this disease taking lives are scary. India accounts for over 75,000 deaths a year only due to cervical cancer. The numbers give us a picture of the stark reality and the need to save as many lives as possible through this vaccine.
The cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus(HPV). This is the only cancer that is prevented by the vaccine.
HPV vaccines protect against infection with human papillomavirus.
HPV infections happen to 85% of people but most of them disappear on their own. The infection that does not go away causes certain types of cancer in both men and women. It could affect:
Cervix, vagina, and vulva in women; Penis in men; Anus in both men and women; Oropharyngeal cancers in both men and women.
Prevention is a protocol where we catch them young. A routine vaccination course can be taken between 9 and 12 years. If not adequately vaccinated, a catch-up vaccination course can be taken between the ages of 13 and 26 years. In case one has missed out on these two stages, then a vaccination course can be given between 27 and 45 years, of course, in consultation with the doctors.
These vaccinations are very safe. If your child is between 9 and 14 years, two dosages will have to be taken within a gap of 6-12 months. The dosage increases to three if the person is a young adult above 15 years of age.
There is no hurry to take the vaccine if one is pregnant. If you happen to be pregnant and have already taken one dose, you can pause and take the other two doses after delivery in consultation with the gynecologist and the pediatrician. Of course, if you have taken all three doses and discover you are pregnant, it’s okay. There’s no cause to be alarmed.
The HPV vaccine does not cause any infertility problems. Only people who develop cancer caused by HPV will have to be treated and that could limit their ability to have children, because of chemotherapy, radiation, and could even undergo a hysterectomy.
The vaccination does not have serious side effects except a fever, nausea, dizziness, myalgia, malaise, and local reactions at the injection site. Not all! Anyone. The vaccine could adversely affect people with respiratory issues or who are hypersensitive to yeast. Consult a doctor before you decide to take it.
The good news is India has developed a 4-strain vaccine (quadrivalent vaccine) which was approved in September this year. The Government of India is considering adding this vaccine as part of the immunization program and the rates promise to be reasonable. A significant step in preventive oncology indeed!
We, at Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, have the facility to give you this course of vaccines under a specialist’s care should you decide to take it.