How to Prevent Cervical Cancer


Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Cervical cancer kills more women worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together.
·         48,000,000 women are at risk.
·         17,550 women are diagnosed yearly with about 10,000 deaths annually.
·         26 Nigerian women die daily from cancer of the cervix.
Good news is cancer of the cervix is highly preventable.
Cervical cancer is the cancer of the lower part of the womb, the part that is visualized or felt through the vagina. It is caused by infections with high risk types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV); a sexually transmitted infection/virus. HPV also causes vulva, vagina, anal and mouth/throat cancer.
Risk factors of cervical cancer other than HPV are;
·         Smoking.
·         Multiple sex partners.
·         Partner with multiple sexual partners.
·         Early age of first intercourse.
·         Failure to have regular Pap test.
·         Sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes or Chlamydia.
·         Long term use of pills.
·         Early age child birth.
·         Weakened immune system.
The best way for women to protect themselves against cervical cancer is to have the HPV vaccine prior first sexual exposure (from 10-13years old) and Pap smear at the age of 18 or 2 years after first sexual contact whichever comes last.
Although most girls do not start having sex until late adolescent (16-19years). It is important that they get this protection early enough and a good time is in early adolescent (11-13years old). Getting the vaccine as early as possible will protect them in the future.
Vaccines include;
·         Cervarix
·         Gardasil
Both vaccines are given as a series of three injections over a 6- month period.  The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose and the third dose is given six months after the first dose.
The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys and can be given as early as age 9. It is important for girls and boys to receive the vaccine before they are sexually exposed because once infected with HPV, the vaccines might not be as effective or might not work at all.
Does the vaccine offer benefits for already sexually active persons?
Yes
Does the vaccine treat infections by HPV?
 No
Who should not get the vaccine?
·         Pregnant women.
·         Immune compromised people.
·         Individuals with allergies to yeast and latex.
·         Individuals with allergies to previous dose.
Parents and guardians must take seriously vaccination of their children within the recommended ages. For more information, contact us on consultation@medswitchhealthconnect.com.ng
By Dr. Badmus Owoo
     Gynecologist 
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