HPV vaccination

By: Lisa Podolsky, B.Sc Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University

HPV vaccination

As cervical cancer is not new, approaches to prevent this disease are always being re-invented and renovated, especially Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing. HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is often passed during intimate and sexual contact. Interestingly, In some cases following HPV infection, HPV-associated precancerous lesions in the tissue may occur, and therefore HPV is associated with cervical cancer.

Preventing cervical cancer may help prevent mortality in some women and morbidity in many others. It is known that cervical cancer is preventable, but the bigger question is, can it actually be prevented?

Cervical cancer prevention requires a three step prevention approach.

Primary prevention involves proper education regarding safe sexual interaction [5] and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination [1].

Cervical cancer prevention requires a three step prevention approach.

So far, only preventative HPV vaccines are commercially available. Therapeutic HPV vaccines which help in clearing existing infection are still under trial.

The first vaccine licensed was Gardasil (Merck, Pennsylvania) which protects against HPV 6, 11,(which cause lesions and genital warts [2]) 16 and 18, (which may cause cancer of the cervix anus and penis [2]) while Cervarix (Glaxo Smith Klein, Belgium) protects against HPV 16 and 18 [3].

Interestingly, it turns out that according to data collected recently, Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines are safe and effective in preventing HPV infection and therefore pre-cancerous HPV-associated lesions by the respective HPV types.

 

Talking about successful vaccines, in Australia, the introduction of HPV vaccination caused a decrease in the prevalence of cervical abnormalities within 3 years after vaccination [4].

Talking about successful vaccines, in Australia, the introduction of HPV vaccination caused a decrease in the prevalence of cervical abnormalities within 3 years after vaccination [4].

Another interesting fact is that Gardasil does not prevent all types of cervical cancer which is mainly due to the fact that cervical cancer may be caused by various factors other than HPV such as low educational level, early age at first sexual encounter, multiple sexual partners, early age at first pregnancy and more [3,5].

Secondary prevention involves screening for patients who show or don’t show any symptoms as well as detecting precancerous lesions before they turn into cancer in patient who show symptoms.
Tertiary prevention searches for ways to limit disability and boost rehabilitation by treating those precancerous lesions, which will prevent the progression to invasive cancer.

 

cervical cancer

prevention of cervical cancer involves a multipronged approach of education [5], creating awareness, HPV vaccination, and screening and early treatment of precancerous lesions before they develop into cancer.

Thus, prevention of cervical cancer involves a multipronged approach of education [5], creating awareness, HPV vaccination, and screening and early treatment of precancerous lesions before they develop into cancer.

The amount of focus on each of these measures may vary between communities and countries based on the availability of resources and healthcare commitments.

Considering the fact that the precancerous phase of cervical cancer is longer than the vaccine has been around, the preventative vaccines true impact can’t be identified yet . Only time can answer the question: can we truly prevent cervical cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

References
1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently Asked Questions About HPV Vaccine Safety [online].
2. Fox, M. HPV Found in Two-Thirds of Americans, Survey Finds. Published on May 20, 2014.
nbcnews.com/health/health-news/hpv-found-two-thirds-americans-survey-finds-n109846
3. Aggarwal, Pakhee. “Cervical cancer: Can it be prevented?.”World journal of clinical oncology 5.4 (2014): 775.
4. Brotherton JM, Fridman M, May CL, Chappell G, Saville AM, Gertig DM. Early effect of the HPV vaccination programme on cervical abnormalities in Victoria, Australia: an ecological study. Lancet.2011;377:2085–2092.
5. Metrojacksonville.com – Risky Business: Adolescent Sexual Behavior and HPV. Published August 7, 2014.
metrojacksonville.com/article/2014-aug-risky-business-adolescent-sexual-behavior-and-hpv#.U-sPfOOSz90

 

 

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