Let’s defeat Cervical Cancer Together!
Cervical cancer is a 2nd most common cancer in India as reported by Globocan 2018. Approximately 97,000 new cases are diagnosed & 60,000 deaths are reported in India every year. We have more than 2,25,000 patients suffering with this disease in India at any given point of time. Cervical Cancer is mainly caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection & it is sexually transmitted between partners, most of the times.
With the increasing influence of western lifestyle on Indian population where individualism and liberty are increasingly celebrated in our families, younger generation has become sexually active at an early age; before marriages on many occasions. Such a trend is more visible in metro cities than in rural areas. Therefore, it is imperative to anticipate that genital HPVs are carried by women at much younger age than anticipated.
Prevention of Cervical Cancer by vaccination has emerged as the most effective option in the recent past with the availability of two vaccines in India. Both are different in terms of spectrum of effectiveness against specific strains of HPV, their doses and schedules of administration. It is important to know that these vaccines are preventive/prophylactic by nature and not therapeutic. Those are most effective in women who are not exposed to genital HPV before the vaccination. In India, the most suitable age for administration of said cervical cancer vaccine is between 9-13 years. There are various other factors that needs to be considered before administration of cervical cancer vaccine.
To conclude, such decisions for the protection of women from cervical cancer using vaccines should be taken in due consultation with an expert Gynecologist and/or Oncologist. Cervical cancer is the only cancer preventable with vaccine as of today and being aware is at the core of prevention.
Dr. Kshitij Joshi
M.B.B.S, M.D. (Medicine), D.M. (Medical Oncology), D.N.B. (Medical Oncology), ECMO (European Society Certification in Medical Oncology)
Medical & Pediatric Oncologist & Hematologist
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