Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women in the Philippines. In the country, 39.6 million women aged 15 and above are at risk for cervical cancer. Each year, 7,897 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer while 4,052 women die from the disease.
Read on to learn more about how getting the HPV vaccine is one of the most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer and other related complications.
Women and HPV
Cervical cancer develops from the opening of the uterus from the vagina. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and around 99% of cervical cancer cases are linked to it.
This particular type of cancer develops if the body is unable to clear a transient infection of HPV, which is usually obtained through skin-to-skin or sexual contact. The risk of contracting the HPV virus in one’s lifetime is as high as 50%. It is estimated that 80% of women will be infected by the age of 50.
Men and HPV
Males are not spared from HPV, and the risk for contracting the virus increases with more sexual partners. The HPV vaccine can protect men against genital warts as well as penile and anal cancer caused by HPV. While the risk is higher for women, it is advised that both genders get vaccinated for protection and prevention against passing it on to other people.
It’s also important to note that you can have HPV without knowing, as you can be asymptomatic. Using condoms properly may prevent diseases caused by HPV, but HPV can still infect areas the condom does not cover. Therefore, condoms do not offer full protection from HPV.
In its early stages, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer. You can safeguard against the disease by getting an HPV vaccine as early as age 9, and a pap smear as early as age 25.
HPV vaccines offer lifetime protection against human papillomavirus when you complete the full dose.
HPV vaccine variants
Gardasil 4-valent protects against the four strains of HPV that cause genital warts and cervical cancer (HPV 6, 11, 16, 18).
Gardasil 9-valent is the newest vaccine for cervical cancer with a wider range of protection, safeguarding against more strains of HPV (HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58).
The HPV vaccine is recommended for females and males as early as the age of 9, before you become sexually active. This gives you a better chance at having a successful immune response before exposure to the virus.
Everyone through age 26 should get the HPV vaccine if they were not fully vaccinated already. Those between ages 27–45 may have already been exposed to HPV strains, therefore the vaccine will not cure them from it, but act as a means of prevention. It’s best to seek your doctor’s advice regarding the risks for developing new HPV infections and the possible benefits of getting this vaccine.
A two-dose series (0, 6-12 months) for most persons who initiate vaccination at ages 9 through 14 years and a three-dose series (0, 1-2, 6 months) for persons who initiate vaccination at ages 15 through 45 years, and for immunocompromised persons.
The significance of getting the HPV vaccine cannot be overstated in the realm of preventive healthcare. By actively taking steps to protect yourself against human papillomavirus, you will not only safeguard your own health but contribute to the broader public health landscape.
The vaccine stands as a powerful tool in the prevention of HPV-related cancers, reducing the incidence of cervical, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers. Embracing vaccination serves as a proactive measure, safeguarding against potentially life-threatening consequences and fostering a healthier future for both individuals and communities.
As we prioritize preventative care, the HPV vaccine emerges as a crucial component in the collective effort to promote well-being, reduce disease burden, and ultimately advance the overall health of society. Book your HPV vaccines today on mykindred.co!