HPV VACCINE: WHY SHOULD I GET VACCINATED?
Cancer remains a leading cause of death with the worst statistics worldwide. Cervical cancer is a form of cancer that affects the reproductive tract of women; the cervix. The cervix is easily described as the neck of the womb. In Nigeria, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women. Every year, 12075 women are estimated to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 7968 women die from the disease each year.
After years of research and attempts to find a solution to this deadly disease, scientists have finally made a breakthrough. The disease can be prevented by a vaccination. How great does that sound? Cervical cancer is the only cancer of the reproductive tract that can be prevented with a vaccine.
Cervical cancer has been linked to a deadly virus which causes warts in the genitals. The virus, Human Papilloma Virus, is said to be directly responsible for over 90% of cases of cervical cancer.
The virus can be spread through sexual contact (anal, oral or vaginal), and an individual can be infected with HPV without showing any symptoms. After a period of time, the infection may progress into cervical cancer causing the cells of the cervix into cancerous cells.
Apart from cervical cancer, other cancers like throat cancer, vagina, anus and vagina can also be caused by HPV. Genital warts are also caused by HPV. The warts can be treated but the virus cannot be killed.
Contracting HPV can be prevented via other means such as abstinence from sexual activity, condoms (not 100%) and staying faithful to one partner provided that both partners have been screened for the virus.
HPV vaccine is recommended for girls from the age of 9 years and above till about 45 years of age. Boys can also get vaccinated against HPV to further reduce the risk of spread of this virus.
Females who are sexually active should also take the vaccine. Although, they may not get maximal benefit as they may have been infected with some strains of the virus, it still grants some protection against developing cervical cancer.
The usual adult dose is 3 shots spread across six months
Early detection, vaccination and regular pap smear are pivotal in management of cervical cancer. Vaccination is the easiest and cheapest way to prevent cervical cancer . Get vaccinated today!