Friday, February 09, 2007

New Vaccine that protects Women against Cervical Cancer

There is good news in the fight against Cervical Cancer. A new vaccine has been recently launched in Singapore which is designed to reduce the risk of women developing Cervical Cancer significantly.

How does it work?


There is a virus called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that is spread through sexual contact. About 50% of sexually active females with become infected with the HPV in their lifetimes. It has been found that infection with the virus will predispose the person to develop Cervical Cancer later in life. So if you can prevent the person from getting the infection in the first place, you can prevent the development of Cervical Cancer.

How common is Cervical Cancer?

Over 490,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually worldwide. Up till the introduction of this vaccine, the primary way of dealing with cervical cancer was to detect it early through regular Pap Smears. It is recommended that sexually active women have a Pap Smear at least once every 3 years. When Cervical Cancer is detected in the early stages, it is easily treated. Cervical Cancer can be life threatening when detected late.

How effective is this Vaccine?

There are many different strains of the HPV. This vaccine protects against two of the most common strains that cause 70% of Cervical Cancers. Aside from protecting against Cervical Cancer, the vaccine also protects against the development of Anal and Genital Warts.

Who should get the vaccine?

It is recommended that the vaccine be given to girls 9 to 26 years of age preferably before any sexual contact.

What is the schedule like?

The vaccine should be given at 0, 2 and 6 months.

Where can I get vaccinated?

You should be able to get this vaccination at your Family Doctor or Gynaecologist.

Conclusion

This is real breakthrough against one of the commonest cancers affecting women and its introduction should see the incidence of Cervical Cancer in woman reduced significantly.

Other Resources

Link to Vaccine website
Fact Sheet on Human Papilloma Virus
Link to News Article

13 comments:

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Singapore's BIGGEST BLOG community.

Cheers.

Abby said...

Hi, I am 26 years old this year. Is it too late to get the vaccine? What are the side effects of this vaccine?

ieat & itreat said...

No it is not too late.

Ks said...

Hi doc, roughly how much is the total cost of the vaccine? Thanks!

ieat & itreat said...

Please email me at leslie.tay@gmail.com and I will let you know

Anonymous said...

Hi Doctor,

I am 31 years old and married. Does the cervical cancer vaccination still helps for my case? is it too late? is there side effects for this vaccine?

Thanks

ieat said...

Hi, the vaccine is recommended for women 9 to 26 years of age.

There is no harm if you take the vaccine after 26 but it would not be as effective as if you had taken it earlier.

The recommendation of 26 years is based on their studies. There is certainly nothing that happens when a women turns 26 to suddenly make the vaccination ineffective.

As with other vaccines, you may get a fever and the vaccination site might get inflammed for a few days.

Anonymous said...

hi, I am 30 and trying to get pregnant. Is it ok to take the vacinnation while trying to get pregnant?

ieat said...

Yes its ok

Anonymous said...

Hi, is after vaccine can having sex?

ieat said...

Not sure what your question is, but if you are asking if after the vaccine it is 100% protection from the Human Papilloma Virus that is transmitted by having sex, then the answer is no.

There are many strains of the HPV and you are protected from several of the important ones that cause cancer, but not all. However, it does significantly reduce your chances of contracting a virus that can eventually cause cancer.

Analwarts said...

Just wondering if this vaccine is suitable for men for the prevention of HPV and occurence of anal warts?

ieat said...

Yes, but in Singapore it is usually used to protect women against cervical cancer.