Cervical Cancer

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The Central government has recently written to all States and Union Territories to create awareness of the prevention of cervical cancer and the importance of the HPV vaccine among girl students across the country.

What is Cervical Cancer?

  • Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (womb).
  • Various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer that is transmitted through sexual contact.
  • When exposed to HPV, the body's immune system typically prevents the virus from harming.
  • In a small percentage of people the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.

Types of HPV Vaccines available:

  • Quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil): It protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11). The latter two strains cause genital warts.
  • Bivalent vaccine (Cervarix): It protects against HPV 16 and 18 only.
  • Non-valent vaccine (Gardasil 9): It protects against nine strains of HPV.

Cervical cancer in India:

  • In India, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after breast cancer.
  • India contributes the largest share of the global cervical cancer burden. India accounts for nearly one in every four deaths globally due to cervical cancer.

World Health Organisation’s Global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer proposes:

  • The following 90-70-90 targets must be met by 2030 for countries to be on the path towards cervical cancer elimination:
    • 90% of girls are fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15 years.
    • 70% of women are screened with a high-performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age.
    • 90% of women identified with the cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with pre cancer treated, and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed).


Q1) What is Human papillomavirus infection?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that’s passed between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are over 100 varieties of HPV, more than 40 of which are passed through sexual contact and can affect your genitals,mouth, or throat.

Source: All India Radio