Cervical cancer

1 min read
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In a bid to reduce cases of cervical cancer, the government is likely to roll out an immunisation campaign against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the second quarter of the year.

About Cervical cancer

  • It starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (womb).
  • In a small percentage of people the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.
  • Causes
    • Various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer.
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection which can affect the skin, genital area and throat. 
  • When exposed to HPV, the body's immune system typically prevents the virus from harming.
  • Types of HPV Vaccines available
    • Quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil): It protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11). 
    • Bivalent vaccine (Cervarix): It protects against HPV 16 and 18 only.
    • Non-valent vaccine (Gardasil 9): It protects against nine strains of HPV.

How does the vaccine prevent cancers?

  • The quadrivalent vaccines, including the Serum Institute of India’s Cervavac, prevent the entry of four of the most common types of HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11 thereby preventing infections, genital warts, and eventually cancer.
  • The indigenously developed, cheaper Cervavac will be used in the government campaign.
  • At least 14 HPV types have been identified to have the potential to cause cancer. Among these, HPV types 16 and 18 are considered to be the most oncogenic, causing about 70 per cent of all cervical cancer cases globally.
  • The vaccine has to be administered in adolescent girls before they are sexually active. This is because the vaccine can only prevent the entry of the virus.
  • Prevention
    • Boosting public awareness, access to information and services are key to prevention and control across the life course.
    • Being vaccinated at age 9–14 years is a very effective way to prevent HPV infection, cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.
    • Screening from the age of 30 can detect cervical disease, which when treated, also prevents cervical cancer.

Q1) What is Virus?

These are microscopic organisms that can infect hosts, like humans, plants or animals. They’re a small piece of genetic information (DNA or RNA) inside of a protective shell (capsid). Some viruses also have an envelope. Viruses can’t reproduce without a host. 

Source: India gears up for HPV vaccine drive against cervical cancer: Who can receive this vaccine? Here’s all you need to know