Categories: cancer

Cervical Cancer is the cancer in which the neck and womb are affected. In the UK, around three thousand women get diagnosed with this cancer every year. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, which is widely known as HPV. The risk of someone getting cervical cancer increases with HPV, and it is important that screening and vaccination should be done for prevention.

A vaccination programme has hence been started in the UK in which schoolgirls between the ages of twelve and thirteen are going to be offered vaccine. The vaccine chosen for the purpose is called Cervarix and three injections are given to the girls over the period of six months.

A consent form is sent to the parents and the vaccine is given only when the consent has been gained. Research shows that with the vaccine, at least seven out of ten cervical cancers can be prevented. There is also the fact that the cervical cancer actually takes about ten to twenty years to develop after the HPV infection. Hence, it cannot immediately be made sure whether the vaccine has been effective or not.

In order to decrease the possibility of cervical cancer, in 2008 a two year catch up programme was also introduced in which girls between thirteen and eighteen years of age were to be vaccinated in order to further reduce the chances of the breakout of cervical cancer.

Another vaccine that has been developed besides Cervarix is Gardasil. The basic objective that is meant to be achieved through vaccination is to minimise the chances of a girl getting HPV even before the girl potentially is exposed to the infection. Cervarix actually provide protection against the two strains of HPV that are responsible for causing cervical cancer in more than seventy percent of the cases.

In total, there were two thousand two hundred and twenty one cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in UK in the year 2004 and the cancer caused eight hundred and thirty one deaths in 2006. The loss of so many lives and the danger to numerous others is the reason that the vaccination is given so much importance.

There is no particular evidence showing the side effects of the vaccine. There have been a few incidents of redness, pain, and swelling in the injection area. There have been some other cases as well, in which there was mild headache, muscle ache, fever, dizziness, and stomach pain after the vaccination. However, no serious side effects may pose any threat.

The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the possible side effects of the vaccine and it is evident that the vaccine is of great value as it is estimated to save more than four hundred lives a year. Screening is something that is very important in cervical cancer and it is important that it should be done even if one has received the vaccine. It is important that the vaccine should be received so that ones safety can be assured.

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