Role of HPV Vaccine in the Prevention of Cervical Cancer
Saleh JA, Yusuph H, Zailani ZB.
Abstract Background: Cervical cancer which affects relatively young women of child bearing age is considered to be the second most common cancer in women and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in developing countries, a reflection of global health inequity. There are more than 450,000 newly diagnosed cases annually with over a quarter of million deaths recorded out of which over 80 percent are from the developing countries especially Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and the Caribbean, with an exponential rise expected from this figure by 2020. The preventive measures available (Pap smear and HPV vaccine) aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality associated with this disease, has been shown to be very effective but difficult to implement especially in the developing countries partly due to lack of resources and mainly lack of government commitment amongst other things. This forms the basis of this review to look at the position of HPV vaccine in the prevention of cancer of the cervix.
Method: In the course of this write-up, relevant literatures were reviewed using manual library search, relevant websites and internet articles. The key words employed were: cervical cancer, human papilloma virus, pap smear and vaccination.
Results: It has been shown that, where resources permits, combining HPV vaccine in combination with pap smear screening methods especially to high risk group would greatly reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with cancer of the cervix.
Conclusion: Although there are so many essential questions still unanswered, considering the havoc caused by this preventable gynaecological malignancy and coupled with the ever increasing costs of its treatment, the advantages of using HPV vaccine in addition to routine Pap smear as a means of preventing cancer of the cervix greatly outweighs the disadvantages. However, there is the need for caution to be adhered to when it comes to large scale vaccination programs in view of the fact that sufficient evidence is still lacking on the safety of the vaccines in the long-term.
Key words: CERVICAL CANCER, HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS, PAP SMEAR, VACCINATION
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