New Delhi: Cervical cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer in women worldwide, despite being generally avoidable, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). An estimated 570,00 women were diagnosed with the illness in 2018, and it was responsible for 311,000 fatalities worldwide.
On Thursday, September 1, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Science and Technology, launched Cervavac, India’s first indigenously developed quadrivalent human papillomavirus (qHPV) vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer.
HPV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and most people are infected with HPV shortly after the onset of sexual activity. More than 90% of them clear the infection eventually. Experts say that cervical cancer is curable if detected early and treated effectively. Cervical cancer can be prevented at a reasonable cost by receiving an HPV vaccine, getting screened for it, and treating pre-cancerous lesions.
Here’s all you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of cervical cancer.
What Is Cervical Cancer?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a woman’s cervix is where cervical cancer develops (the entrance to the uterus from the vagina). Human papillomaviruses (HPV), an incredibly prevalent virus spread through sexual contact, are associated with 99% of cervical cancer occurrences. Although the majority of HPV infections are self-limiting and symptomless, persistent infections can lead to cervical cancer in females. The fourth most frequent malignancy in women is cervical cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes more than 95% of cases of cervical cancer. The most frequent viral infection of the reproductive system is HPV. The majority of sexually active women and men contract the disease at some point in their life, and some may contract it more than once. Over 90% of affected people eventually recover from the virus. The most widespread condition associated with HPV is by far cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by HPV infection. All women are at risk for HPV infections becoming chronic and pre-cancerous lesions developing into invasive cervical cancer, even though the majority of HPV infections and pre-cancerous lesions resolve spontaneously. In women with healthy immune systems, cervical cancer takes 15 to 20 years to develop. In women with compromised immune systems, such as those with untreated HIV infection, it can happen in just 5 to 10 years.
How Can It Be Prevented?
In accordance with the WHO, most instances of cervical cancer can be avoided with primary (HPV vaccine) and secondary (screening for and treating precancerous lesions) preventative measures that are successful. As long as it is identified early and carefully handled, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable types of cancer when it is diagnosed. With the right medical care and palliative care, cancers that have already advanced to advanced stages can also be controlled. Within a generation, cervical cancer as a public health issue can be solved with a comprehensive strategy for prevention, screening, and treatment.
Cervavac: India’s Indigenous Cervical Cancer Vaccine
The scientific completion of “CERVAVAC,” India’s first locally made vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer, was announced by Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh on September 1st, 2022. The quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus (qHPV) vaccination against cervical cancer has been created by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and it is reasonably priced and cost-effective..
The WHO has prequalified 4 vaccines that all offer protection against HPV types 16 and 18, which are known to be responsible for at least 70% of cervical cancers. The remaining 5 oncogenic HPV varieties, which account for an additional 20% of cervical cancers, are protected against by the 9-valent vaccine. Additionally, two of the vaccines offer defense against HPV types 6 and 11, which are responsible for anogenital warts.
HPV vaccinations are safe and effective at preventing HPV infections, high-grade precancerous lesions, and invasive cancer, according to clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance. The most effective timing for HPV vaccinations is before HPV exposure. Therefore, the WHO suggests vaccinating girls between the ages of 9 and 14 to prevent cervical cancer, a time when the majority have not yet begun sexual activity.
Due to the vaccine’s ability to protect against HPV-related cancers in both men and boys, some nations have begun vaccinating boys. Cervical cancer screening is not replaced by HPV vaccination. Population-based screening programmes are required in nations where the HPV vaccination is distributed in order to detect and treat cervical pre-cancer and cancer in order to lower the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer.
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