In Sweden, the vaccination result showed an 88% reduction in the risk of develpoing cervical cancer in women. Younger women receive additional benefits from early vaccination.
The data from the UK National Programme shows an almost 95% to 97℅ drop in the chance of developing cervical cancer in girls under 15 years with HPV vaccination. Dr. Neerja Bhatla, Professor and HOD of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at AIIMS, New Delhi, talks about the road map to positively eliminate the cervical cancer growth rate in all women.
The most common type of cancer that women tend to develop in the 21st century is cervical cancer. A study shows the global number of cases of the disease stands at 600,000 in women every year, with India contributing 123,000 to them. Although most cases are found in rural areas, a huge proportion in urban states contributes to that count as well.
Overview of Cervical Cancer
Carcinoma that spreads in the lower abdominal part and at the end of the uterus is what the doctors call cervical cancer. This part of the female reproductive system usually tends to develop this type of carcinoma very often. It was formerly detected mostly in older women; however, the scenario has changed for young girls who delay pregnancies and undergo infertility treatments.
The cervix in the female body connects the uterus directly to the vagina (birth canal), and the development of cell abnormalities in this part is comparably slower than cell growth in other parts of the body. Hence, early detection is possible with proper screening, pap smears, and HPV tests (if required).
The usual symptoms of this carcinoma include untimely vaginal bleeding (i.e., after intercourse or during menopause) and a watery, bloody vaginal discharge with a strong odour. Other symptoms include heavy pain in the cervix.
- Common cause
The most common cause of cervical carcinoma is HPV infection in women. Recently, infertility treatments and delayed pregnancies have also played a key role.
- Preventive measures
The best way to prevent the disease is by doing early screenings of the cervix. The next step includes HPV and pap tests.
Cervical Cancer: Challenges, Diagnosis, and Awareness
In India, the assembly and training of a cytology network is one of the many challenges we face. Surprisingly, even in the West and in developed countries, the involvement of the national programme for cytology screening seems to be a challenge as well.
To resolve the issue at all levels, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has approved vaccination protocols to include in the national program. The process has a plan to roll out affordable vaccines to be available in all places. However, the private market has to adapt to changes because the data on vaccination has shown positive results in many countries. For instance, in Sweden, the vaccination was put in trial mode, and the result showed an 88% reduction in the risk of cervical cancer in women. Younger women receive additional benefits from early vaccination.
In most cases, women are unaware of the disease, and educational awareness is not the only factor that plays a key role. In countries like India, cost-effective treatment is a huge issue. Although the knowledge of vaccination is very clear in the nation, the network of storage, transport, vacciners, and cold chain supply is a huge backlog. In India, HPV tests are only available as adolescent vaccines, though states like Sikkim and Punjab have successful programmes to roll out vaccines with 97% updates.
As mentioned earlier, cervical carcinoma has a preventable phase before developing cancerous cells in the body. Hence, pap smears every three years could help early diagnosis or prevention by 93%.
The National Programme data on the UK trial has shown a 95% to 97% drop in the risk of cervical cancer in young women and of high-risk CIN (precursor lesion). Thus, the data shows a promising outcome and assures complete elimination of the disease in women.
Women who were born after 1995 can easily obtain the vaccination and will be on the safer side of retaining the disease. The data further showed that the previous notion that three dosages are not required is not true, as the number of two dosages is enough for prevention.
The World Health Organisation has thus reduced the dosage number to two for young girls. As for the mission, WHO has set the goal of being able to sustain vaccination and treat women, especially those under 35 years old, by the year 2030.
The data assures that almost 80 percent of women will get the Human Papillion Virus; however, only 10 percent will retain recurring infections, and the programme is specifically set to eliminate the infection in them.
If the changes in infrastructure happen to pick up pace, the hope of cancer becoming a rare disease is possible to achieve.
Content Credit: EThealthworld, NIH