“CERVICAL CANCER VACCINATION: DO WE REALLY NEED IT?’

“CERVICAL CANCER VACCINATION: DO WE NEED IT?”

 

What is cervical cancer?

It is the cancer of mouth of uterus. It’s the most common cancer among women of our country.

What is the cause of cancer cervix?

Cause of cancer cervix is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).

Can it be prevented?

Yes, we can prevent cancer cervix.”PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.”

How it can be prevented?

It can be prevented by HPV vaccine. It can also be prevented by keeping good hygiene, regular screening with Pap smear, limiting your sex –partners, by keeping good sexual hygiene, avoiding smoking and alcoholism.

What is the ideal age for HPV vaccination?

11-12 yrs is ideal age.

What if I have crossed the ideal age for vaccination?

Still you can receive vaccination… Efficacy is good if given till the age of even 26 yrs.

What is the maximum age limit?

Guidelines say unto 26 yrs, but if you want you can have after that also. “SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING”

What is the minimum age for vaccination?

Minimum age is 9 yrs.

Why HPV vaccine is given so early?

Because HPV infection spreads thro’ sexual activity most commonly, so it is better to give HPV vaccine before the start of sexual activity or I must say before puberty onsets.

Is vaccine 100% effective?

No, it is not 100% effective. It gives protection mainly against two strains 16 and 18 which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers. And efficacy is 95.8% against vaccine related strains.

How many doses should I take?

You should complete your dose schedule of minimum of 2 doses between 6-24 months if you are below 15 yrs of age and 3 if you are above 15 yrs.

What if I don’t complete my dose schedule?

Then you won’t be protected. Single dose is not protective.

What are dose schedule for this vaccination?

2 doses for girls under the age of 15 yrs and after 15 yrs you need 3 doses.

What are the routes?

Sorry to say, this vaccine is not given by mouth unlike polio one. Route gives some pain as it is an injection. “No pain, no gain.”

If I complete my dose schedule, then I am protected for whole life. Is it true?

No, you are protected for 10 yrs. After that according to antibody titres you may need vaccine again.

Will I be protected if I‘ve crossed the age of vaccination?

Yes, up to some extent. If you are exposed to vaccine related strains already, then no.

Does HPV vaccine give protection against other strains of HPV or other STD’s?

Vaccine is protective for 16,18,6 and 11 strains mainly. For protection of other sex related disease you need to wear condom.

What are the side-effects of HPV vaccine?

No medicine is without side-effects, so are the vaccines. Side- effects are mild irritation or pain at injection site or some temperature, nausea, vomiting or fainting attacks. But these are mild and will get settled in a day or two. To avoid fainting attacks, remain seated for 15-20 mins after vaccination.

Are there any major side- effects of this vaccine?

Practically almost nil major side-effects, except severe allergic reaction, that can be life-threatening.

What are the contraindications of HPV vaccine?

Pregnancy, severe illness or allergies and allergy to previous dose of vaccine.

Can I get pregnant during vaccination?

No.

After how long I can become pregnant of completion of my dose schedule?

No effects on babies born to mothers having HPV vaccine has been reported, so no recommendations have been made.

What if I found myself pregnant and I have taken vaccine?

You need not to worry. Withhold your vaccine and complete your dose schedule after the birth of baby.

Do I need to have my pregnancy checked before vaccination?

No.

Is there any contraindication to breast feeding during vaccination?

No.

Do I need screening even after vaccination?

Yes, you need screening on same screening schedule as advised.

Will it cure my previous infection?

No.

After how long of vaccination will I be protected?

Immunity is at its peak after 3rd dose of vaccine .You can say after one month of 3rd dose.

Key words: Vaccine,HPV, Dose, Protection, Age.

FOR FURTHER QUERIES VISIT: http://www.drarchanabharti.com

 

 

 

Pap Smear – After all it’s just a Test!!!

Dear friends & Readers as a Gynecologist we come across so many different questions and anxious doubts on an array of tests, diseases and medicine intakes. One Such question happens to be about Pap Smear and its importance in able to lead a healthy life. The following is a quick gist on Pap smear and questions related to it. Consult Now!

What is Pap smear all about?

Pap smear is a test used to detect abnormal or potentially abnormal cells from the uterine cervix.

Any advantages?

Pap smears, when performed routinely, have been a great help in the detection and treatment of areas of pre-cancerous cells, which help to prevent cervical cancer from developing. In addition, the test can help detect cervical cancer in the early stages, when it is most treatable. The Pap smear is also used to monitor any abnormalities or unusual findings. In many cases, these findings are part of the body’s repair process and often resolve themselves without any further treatment.

Who needs it? Do I qualify for a Test?

  • Women between the ages of 21 and 30 should have a Pap smear every 3 years.
  • Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have both a Pap smear and an HPV test every 5 years (preferable); a Pap test alone every 3 years is also acceptable.
  • After age 65, no screening is necessary if women have had adequate prior screening and no history of cervical cancer.
  • Note – Adequate prior screening has been defined as 3 consecutive negative Pap smears or 2 consecutive negative HPV DNA tests within the last 10 years, with the most recent within the last 5 years.

 What happens on the Test Day?

The conventional method consists of sampling cells from the cervical area. The sample is obtained using a type of wooden “spatula,” cotton swab, or brush. Relatively new liquid-based methods are available that are modifications of the conventional Pap smear. The specimen is collected as noted above but is not placed directly onto a glass slide. Rather, it is put into a special liquid preservative. This cell suspension is processed onto a glass slide, stained, and examined.

Do I have to Prepare before the Test Date?

You may be instructed not to douche or tub bathes for 24 hours before the Pap smear is to be performed. You may also be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse for 24 to 48 hours before the test. Do not use any vaginal creams or foams for 48 hours prior to the exam and do not schedule the test during your menstrual period.

 What does the test result mean?

A “negative” Pap smear means the cells obtained appear normal or there is no identifiable infection. In some instances, the conventional Pap smear may be reported as “unsatisfactory” for evaluation. This may mean that cell collection was inadequate or that cells could not be clearly identified. A summary of other reported results follows.

  • Unsatisfactory: inadequate sampling or other interfering substance
  •  Benign: non-cancerous cells, but smear shows infection, irritation, or normal cell repair
  •  Atypical cells of uncertain significance: abnormal changes in the cells that cover most of the external part of the cervix (squamous cells-ASCUS) or in the cells that cover the lining of the uterus opening and canal (glandular cells—AGCUS) for which the cause is undetermined; an ASCUS test result is frequently followed up with DNA testing to identify the presence of a high-risk infection with HPV.
  •  Low-Grade changes: frequently due to infection with HPV, which in some instances can be a risk for cervical cancer; this test result may be followed up with DNA testing to identify the presence of a high-risk HPV infection.
  •  High-Grade changes: very atypical cells that may result in cancer
  •  Squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma: terms used to identify certain types of cancer; in these cases, cancer is evident and requires immediate attention.

What are the risk factors?

Increased risk is also associated with beginning sexual intercourse at an early age, having multiple sexual partners, infrequent Pap smears, cigarette smoking, a history of DES exposure, previous diagnosis of cervical cancer, compromised immune system from organ transplant or HIV, and the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes.

Why do I need a Regular Pap Smear?

Cervical cancer is a slow, progressive disease and may take years to advance beyond the cervix. Because of this fact, regular gynecological examinations are necessary to spot precancerous cells and allow removal of affected tissue. Regular exams can also detect cervical cancer early if it does develop. With early detection, cervical cancer is easier to treat. Left unchecked, however, it is almost always fatal.

They say a stitch in time saves nine!

Do the right thing. Ask questions, to be 100% sure that these tests can only help you survive a healthy life!

Be Healthy! Stay Fit!