Cervical Cancer (HPV Vaccination)
Prevention, Early Diagnosis and Screening methods for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the most common second cancer, following breast cancer, worldwide in female subjects. 493.000 females are newly diagnosed each year worldwide and 274.000 females die due to cervical cancer. Cervical cancers represent the best example of genital cancer prevention. Prevention can be achieved with careful life style and vaccination. Diagnosis can be made at early stage with Pap smear test. Nevertheless, cervical malignancies are important reason for death in both developing and underdeveloped countries. Cervical cancer is still a considerable problem, since screenings are not regularly performed in our country. Due to abovementioned factors, it is of great importance to determine incidence of cervical cancers, identify relevant risk factors and develop preventive and therapeutic strategies for cervical cancers.
Most common risk factors of cervical cancer: Multiple sex partners, onset of sexual life at early age, medical history of sexually transmitted disease(s), smoking, and most importantly, being infected by HPV virus. HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus) leads to infection, wart-like lumps and papillary formations in genital region and mucosa. Although there are various types of this virus, each type is not carcinogenic. Immune system is able to defeat the virus in some women after virus spreads to body. However, several types of HPV – the virus has approximately 80 types – poses particular risk for the development of cancer. If HPV is diagnosed early with smear test, treatment is very easy and saves life.
What is HPV vaccine – cervical cancer vaccine? Who should have this vaccine and how?
Studies on vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) were conducted around ‘90s and vaccines are introduced to market in U.S. and our country as of early 2007. There different types of vaccines and a part of them is still in development process. The vaccine currently on sale (Gardasil) is a preventive preparation. It is planned to have girls aged 12 to 15 immunized with this vaccine and to administer three doses annually in our country. In this regimen, a prevention rate up to 90% is expected. Accordingly, it is estimated that incidence of cervical cancer will be suppressed by 60 percent. Although HPV vaccine is efficient for 4 types in total (Type 16, 18, 6, 11), it will be a great preventive measure against HPV type 16 that accounts for 50% of cervical cancer, and thus, a significant improvement will be achieved for fighting against cervical cancers.