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