Cervical cancer vaccination is given to protect against cervical cancer. This is cancer originating from the neck of the uterus- called the cervix.
India is one of the countries where the incidence of cervical cancer is very high. In women, it is the second most common cancer after breast cancer. Our country contributes to 17 % of the global burden of cervical cancer cases.
In the majority of cases, it is caused by a viral infection- the human papillomavirus (HPV virus). At any given time, about 6.6% of women in India have a cervical HPV infection. HPV subtype 16 and 18 account for 70% - 80% cervical cancer in India. There are many subtypes of the HPV virus. This virus remains in the human body for a very long time before causing cancer. So if this infection can be prevented via vaccination then consequent cancer can be prevented.
There are two HPV vaccines currently approved in India: Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil protects against four HPV types (6, 11, 16, and 18). It is approved for use by females aged >9 years to help prevent cancer of the cervix, vagina, and vulva; genital warts, and anal cancer. It's also approved for males aged 9-26 to help prevent genital warts and anal cancer.
Cervarix targets HPV types 16 and 18. It's approved for females aged >10 years to help prevent cervical cancer.
|Age||9 - 14 Years||15 - 26 Years||26 - 45 Years|
|Dosage||2 Doses (at 0 month & 6 months)||3 Doses (at 0, 2 & 6 months)||3 Doses (at 0, 2 & 6 months)|
|Cost per dose||Rs. 2,500||Rs. 2,500||Rs. 2,500|
These vaccines are prophylactic in nature and should be given before HPV infection. They have proven efficacy and safety with 90-100% efficacy against relevant HPV types. Vaccine injections are administered intramuscularly in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm or thigh muscle. They have been approved by the Drug Controller of India.
This vaccination is to be given before first sexual contact as HPV infection is acquired via sexual contact. Age group- 9 to 45 years. The HPV vaccine is given in three injections over a six-month period.
Side-effects are mild and include hypersensitivity reactions, pain, and fever. They are contraindicated in pregnant women.
These vaccines do not protect against all kinds of cervical cancer-causing strains of the HPV virus. Therefore, screening recommendations are followed irrespective of vaccinations similar to the non-vaccinated populations.