Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cervical Cancer Vaccination

note: this post on discovery of the revolutionary product is not influenced by any means by the company that manufactures this product. The content of this post is based on the knowledge of the author and statistics are attained by Medical Publications.
This blog was initially intended for medical related topics. However, after a while, gradually the post became more personal. How would you classify my blog? Its up to you. Whether its personal, cosmetic, medical, poetry.
As a doctor, i feel the need to share with the masses about something totally revolutionary in the field of medicine. In the past, TB killed millions of people throughout Europe. People diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis is as good as dead as there wasn't any treatment or vaccination available.
Today with modern science and technology, we have fought back many of these diseases and had prevailed with the discovery of new drugs, early prophylactic vaccinations, social awareness.
Very often these killer diseases are preventable by means of healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately our gene dictates the probability of developing certain diseases despite leading our life the best we could. For years, there is a battle between Heart Disease and Cancer for the number one spot as a killer disease.
For women, breast cancer has been the number one killer for years, followed closely by cervical cancer. Today, technology and science has reduced the death mortality statistics drastically by the discovery of the first ever cancer vaccine. As for today, there are 2 major medical companies that produce this life saving vaccines. They are widely used throughout the globe. Before continuing, i would like to state some facts about cervical cancer.
Fact 1: Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer affecting Malaysian women, after breast cancer.
Fact 2:In 2002, cervical cancer accounted for 12.9% of all female cancer in Malaysia.
Fact 3:Virtually every women is at risk of cervical cancer, regardless of their age or lifestyle.
Q: What is cervical cancer?
a: The cervix is the neck of the womb(uterus). It connects the body of the uterus to the vagina(birth canal) . Cancer occurs when the cells of the cervix become abnormal and grow out of control. The cancer can spread to other parts of the body.

Q: What is HPV(human papilloma virus)
a: Human papilloma virus(HPV) is a family of more than 100 viruses that is very common. Some types of HPV are associated with certain types of cancer. These are called "high-risk) cancer causing HPVs.
Q:What is the relation between HPV and Cervical Cancer?
a: Most HPV infections occur without any symptoms and will go away without any treatment over the course of a few months
Infection by the "high-risk" (cancer causing) HPV is necessary for the development of cervical cancer. These infections are asymptomatic and majority will resolve without any need for treatment.
However, in some cases, the infection can persist, leading to the risk of progression to cervical cancer. This process can take more than ten years.
Therefore it is important to be protected against the "high-risk" HPVs
Q:How is HPV transmitted?
a: HPV is a common virus that is transmitted through genital skin to skin contact so it can affect virtually any women, regardless of her age or lifestyle. Sexual intercourse is not necessary to become infected.
It is estimated that about four out of five sexually active women will have an HPV infection during their lifetime, even if they've only had one or two sexual partners.

Q: Will I still be at risk of HPV infection if I am already married?
a: The risk of HPV starts from the first sexual encounter and lasts throughout a woman's life. It is estimated that up to 80% of women will acquire a genital HPV infection in their lifetime irrespective of their age or lifestyle.
Q: Do condoms reduce the risk of HPV infection?
a: Condoms reduce the risk but are not fully protective.
Throughout her life every women is at risk from the virus that causes cervical cancer.
Q: What is Pap Smear?
a: A Pap smear is a quick and simple test to find abnormal cells at the surface of the cervix. Usually cells are collected from the cervix and sent to a laboratory where they are tested for changes
A Pap smear kit set
Q: Can Cervical Cancer be prevented?
a: Until recently the only way to prevent cervical cancer was regular Pap smear testing to look for early signs of the disease.
Vaccination is now available to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.

Since the first introduction of HPV vaccine in Malaysia, less than 1% women has been vaccinated. This could either be due to cost and public awareness on importance and availability of vaccine.

Currently, there are two brands of Cervical Cancer Vaccination available, they are Gardasil, produced by Merck & Co., and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline.

As mentioned earlier, the choice of product in this post is not influenced by company that produce them. This post is not intended to be an advertisement, but rather an attempt to create public awareness and a better understanding on the availability of these life saving vaccines towards the public.

Cervarix by GSK. Ask your doctor today regarding Cervical Cancer Vaccination.
A complete vaccination has a similar timing as vaccination for Hepatitis B, which would be
1st dose : 0 month
2nd dose: 1 month later
3rd dose: 5 month after the 2nd dose.
However, what sets this particular brand apart from other vaccines is its flexibility. Studies shows that even the timing between 1st and 2nd dose is prolonged to 54 weeks, blood serology indicates a persistent high degree of immunity, hence it would be convenient for individuals who is pregnant and had received the 1st dose before conception. 2nd dose can be administered after delivery of baby. However there is no studies to establish safety during lactation.
The price for each dose has been reduced drastically, from 450RM-RM500 per dose to 200RM-250RM. The decision to reduce the price by the producers to encourage more women to get vaccinated by increasing its affordability. According to Department of statistics of Malaysia, a total of 7,500000(58%) women are exposed to the risk of cervical cancer.(age between 10-45 years)
To ensure your beneficent insist on checking the expire date of the vaccine.
Each box of vaccine comes with a pre filled syringe o.5ml of vaccine.
As an advice to women, get vaccinated before contributing to part of mortality statistics, as cervical cancer today has become a preventable disease.

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