January National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: How To Prevent This Deadly Disease In Women?
January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and many women are still not aware of the ways to prevent this deadly disease. There are many ways to prevent cervical cancer and the most popular one is through human papillomavirus virus (HPV) vaccination. Now, a new vaccine in Malaysia promises protection from HPV, which cause around 90 percent of cervical cancer.
The vaccine, called Gardasil 9, offers protection against nine of the HPV types namely 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. At present, most vaccines just protect against two or four types. According to the Star Online, seven out of the nine HPV types may cause cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers, as well as anal cancer in both men and women.
Why Is HPV Vaccination Important?
According to the Daily Progress, about 12,000 women are affected by cervical cancer each year in the United States alone. What's important to note is, cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that could be totally prevented with vaccination and early detection.
Most cervical cancers, 90 percent at that, could be caused by certain high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus. The HPV is a common virus that affects the majority of people during their lifetimes. While most of the people affected might be cleared from the virus, some will develop cancer in the future.
HPV is strongly linked to cervical cancer but it could also cause other types of cancer like vulvar, head and neck, lung or anal cancer. Hence, HPV vaccination is strongly recommended not only for women but also for men too.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Guidelines
The American Cancer Society recommends that women follow the guidelines not only to prevent cervical cancer but also detect it early on. All women should begin cervical cancer testing or screening as early as 21 years old. Those who are 21 to 29 years old should undergo a Pap smear every 3 years. HPV testing is not recommended as a screening tool for this age group but it may be used as a follow-up test for an abnormal Pap test result.
The group also recommends that all women beginning 30 years old should have a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years and should continue until they reach the age of 65. For women who are immunocompromised due to conditions like HIV infection, long-term steroid use and organ transplant, they should undergo the screening more often.
It also advises those who have HPV vaccination to still undergo these screening processes.