Some diseases are better prevented than treated. Cancer is one such disease and we must take utmost care to prevent its occurrence in our body. Cervical cancer is a common form of cancer that affects women of all ages. The cancer is most often diagnosed late due to its absence of symptoms and millions of women die every year due to this reason.
Despite the fact that cervical cancer can be treated almost completely with early diagnosis, many women are faced with the trauma of having to go through rigorous treatment methods that make them infertile and highly compromised when it comes to health and life. How can we prevent cervical cancer? Here’s how.
Human Papilloma Virus
Most cervical cancer is the result of infection caused by Human Papilloma Virus. HPV enters our body through first sexual contact. Infections caused by HPV are numerous and cervical cancer is one of them. Women therefore must avoid having multiple sexual partners and must ensure that protection is used during intercourse. Staying away from sexual contact too helps in preventing cervical cancer.
Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination
Currently there is a vaccination developed for immunizing women from four strains of Human Papilloma Virus that causes infections and cervical cancer. Women are urged to get this immunisation vaccine done before they become sexually active. Cervical cancer vaccination can be administered from the age of 9- 25 before sexual activity starts. It has also been found to be moderately beneficial for women up to 45 years of age even after sexual intercourse has started. The vaccine is however not recommended for boys and men who might be carriers of Human Papilloma Virus that gets transferred to the female reproductive area through sexual intercourse.
The Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination is a three shot course administered in a six month duration. The first shot can be given as early as 9 years of age. The second shot of the vaccination is given after a gap of two months. The final shot is given at six months after the first shot. Three shots of this vaccination give protection against 4 major strains of HPV which causes 70% of all cervical cancers. Getting vaccinated will not protect you completely against cervical cancer as cervical cancer is not caused only by HPV.
How Does The HPV Vaccine Work?
Contrary to the popular belief that HPV vaccine can even cause cervical cancer, because the virus is injected into the body, this is not the case. When particles of Human Papilloma Virus are injected into a woman’s body, the body’s immune system responds by creating antibodies against it. The L1 protein is attacked by the body and stops its multiplication. Since no live strain of Human Papilloma Virus is used for the injection, no one can contract HPV infection after the HPV vaccination.
HPV vaccination may cause certain side effects in women like fainting and dizziness and sometimes blood clots that can be dangerous. These are however not very common and may be due to a suppressed immunity. Talk to your gynaecologist about cervical cancer vaccine.