Cervical cancer, the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide after breast cancer, takes many years to develop. How old can you get the HPV vaccine / cervical cancer vaccine ?
Since it is a slow-developing type of cancer, it is possible to detect and treat it with regular screenings and examinations and cancer can be prevented. Thanks to national cervical cancer screening programs, early diagnosis and treatment and cervical cancer incidence rates and related deaths are rapidly decreasing all over the world.
What does the HPV vaccine do?
Various strains of HPV spread through sexual contact and are associated with most cases of cervical cancer. Gardasil 9 is an HPV vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and can be used for both girls and boys.
This vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if the vaccine is given before girls or women are exposed to the virus. This vaccine can also prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer. In addition, the vaccine can prevent genital warts, anal cancers, and mouth, throat, head and neck cancers in women and men.
In theory, vaccinating boys against the types of HPV associated with cervical cancer might also help protect girls from the virus by possibly decreasing transmission.
If you have non-menstrual bleeding:
Cervical cancer usually has no symptoms in the early period. Cervical cancer can be suspected by abnormal smear test detected during this non-symptom period.
Nonmenstrual bleeding and staining may have symptoms such as bleeding after intercourse, post-menopausal bleeding, watery pink-brown discharge, higher than normal amount of menstrual bleeding, as well as in the future, groin pain, problems with urination, edema in the legs, weight loss.
The risk of sightings increases in these cases:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having a male partner who has had sexual experiences with multiple people
- Having sexual experiences before the age of 18
- Conditions that cause suppression of the immune system (AIDS, organ transplantation)
- Other sexually transmitted infections
- Giving birth too much
Why should smear testing be performed?
The aim of cervical cancer screening is to detect changes in cervical cells in the early period and to prevent the progression to cancer with the necessary interventions.
The tests used in the screening are smear testing and HPV test, which investigates high-risk viruses that can cause cervical cancer. Both tests are performed in the form of removing swabs from the cervix with the help of a brush, spatula or cotton swab. It is a painless, simple, few-minute procedure.
Testing is required at least every 3 years!
Cervical cancer, a type of cancer seen in women over 30 years of age, is most common between the ages of 35 and 44. Almost all cause is the Human Papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus.
All women between the ages of 21 and 65 are recommended to have smear tests at least every 3 years or HPV tests with smear every 5 years after the age of 30. The combination of HPV testing and smear testing is more effective in preventing cancer.
Cancer can be detected and prevented by treatment
According to smear and HPV test results, colposcopy is performed, which means that the cervix is enlarged and examined with the help of a microscope if necessary. Biopsies are taken from the necessary areas. As a result, tissue may need to be removed from the cervix when cancer-precursor changes are detected. With this procedure, cancer can be prevented.
If cancer is detected as a result of colposcopy or a biopsy taken from a visible lesion in the cervix, it is evaluated whether there is cancer spread by various examination and imaging methods, and one or more of the treatment options such as surgeries, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are applied to remove cancerous tissues according to the stage of the disease.
HPV vaccine is the most effective method of prevention
The important point in the prevention of cervical cancer is to protect against HPV infection. There are 2 vaccines against HPV virus. Preferably, girls and boys aged 11-12 years should be vaccinated without having the first sexual experience. However, even if there is sexual experience, both sexes can be vaccinated between the ages of 9 and 26. It has even been found to be effective in women up to the age of 43. Vaccination should be carried out in the form of 2 doses before the age of 15 and 3 doses after 15 years. Even if vaccinated, routine cervical cancer screening tests should continue.
Who is the HPV vaccine for and when should it be given?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the HPV vaccine be given to girls and boys between ages 11 and 12. It can be given as early as age 9. It’s ideal for girls and boys to receive the vaccine before they have sexual contact and are exposed to HPV. Research has shown that receiving the vaccine at a young age isn’t linked to an earlier start of sexual activity.
Once someone is infected with HPV, the vaccine might not be as effective. Also, response to the vaccine is better at younger ages than it is at older ages.
The CDC recommends that all 11- and 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Younger adolescents ages 9 and 10 and teens ages 13 and 14 also can receive vaccination on the two-dose schedule. Research has shown that the two-dose schedule is effective for children under 15.
Teens and young adults who begin the vaccine series later, at ages 15 through 26, should receive three doses of the vaccine.
The CDC recommends catch-up HPV vaccinations for all people through age 26 who aren’t adequately vaccinated.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the use of Gardasil 9 for males and females ages 9 to 45. If you’re age 27 to 45, discuss with your doctor whether he or she recommends that you get the HPV vaccine.
Do not neglect your regular gynecological examination!
Monogamy also reduces the risk of HPV transmission during condom use during intercourse, reducing the likelihood of cervical cancer. With regular annual gynecology examination and smear and HPV tests taken at appropriate intervals, pre-cancer changes are detected early and the progression of cancer is prevented with the necessary interventions.
As with most cancers, early diagnosis of cervical cancer is vital. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the recommendations of doctors, as well as regular examination and smear testing, to catch lesions before cancer occurs.
HpV and smoking are important risk factors
Although the cause of cervical cancer is not fully known, some risk factors increase the likelihood of developing cancer. HpV is the most important risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. Some types of this virus, which has more than 200 types, have been found to play a role in the development of cancer. HPV is sexually transmitted. It may not cause any symptoms as well as genital warts. In addition, smoking is an important cause of cervical cancer, as is the case with all cancers.
Early diagnosis possible with smear test
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that can be controlled by regular examination and screening programs and can be treated when diagnosed early. Today, the most common method used to screen for this cancer is pap smear test. Every woman with active sex life should have a smear test on a regular basis and abnormal structures in the cervix that have not yet developed cancer but are the pre-lesions of cancer are detected and the patient is fully healthy.
Regular control is very important
All women over the age of 21 who have started active sex life should have a smear test once every 3 years. Tests should not be disrupted during menopause. If the patient has at least three normal smear test results after the age of 65, smear tests can be disconcensed with the knowledge of doctor. In addition, if a suspicious situation is seen in the smear test, the test can be performed more frequently or further examination can be performed.
To protect against cervical cancer:
- Do not neglect doctor checks
- Get HPV vaccine under doctor’s supervision
- Stay away from cigarettes and tobacco products
- Strengthen the immune system
- Be wary of sexually transmitted diseases
- Eat healthily
- Take precautions against obesity
What types of HPV Vaccines are there?
Three HPV vaccines—9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil® 9, 9vHPV), quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil®, 4vHPV), and bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix®, 2vHPV)—have been licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All three HPV vaccines protect against HPV types 16 and 18 that cause most HPV cancers.
Gardasil-9 (Merck), a nine-valent HPV vaccine (9vHPV) that protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58, is the only HPV vaccine currently distributed in the U.S.
How well do these vaccines work?
HPV vaccination works extremely well. HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90% of HPV-attributable cancers.
Since HPV vaccination was first recommended in 2006, there has been a significant reduction in HPV infections.
Fewer teens and young adults are getting genital warts.
HPV vaccine has also reduced the number of cases of precancers of the cervix in young women.
With more than 12 years of data, we know that HPV vaccine offers long-lasting protection against HPV infection and HPV disease.
HPV vaccination does not lose the ability to protect against new HPV infections over time.
What are the possible side effects of HPV vaccine?
Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Many people who get HPV vaccine have no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects, like a sore arm from the shot.
The most common side effects of HPV vaccine are usually mild and include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
- Headache or feeling tired
- Muscle or joint pain
Brief fainting spells and related symptoms (such as jerking movements) can happen after any medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down when getting a shot and staying in that position for about 15 minutes after a vaccination can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by falls.
On very rare occasions, severe (anaphylactic) allergic reactions may occur after vaccination. People with severe allergies to any component of a vaccine should not receive that vaccine.
Where can you find HPV vaccine?
HPV vaccine may be available at private doctor offices, community health clinics, school-based health centers, and health departments. If your doctor does not stock HPV vaccine, ask for a referral. If you don’t have a regular source of health care, federally funded health centers can provide services.
How do I pay for HPV vaccine?
In the United States, The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to children ages 18 years and younger who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native.
Most cervical cancers are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Widespread immunization with the HPV vaccine could reduce the impact of cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV worldwide. Here’s what you need to know about the HPV vaccine.
Who should not get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who are moderately or severely ill. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies, including an allergy to yeast or latex. Also, if you’ve had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine, you shouldn’t get the vaccine.
Does the HPV vaccine offer benefits if you’re already sexually active?
Yes. Even if you already have one strain of HPV, you could still benefit from the vaccine because it can protect you from other strains that you don’t yet have. However, none of the vaccines can treat an existing HPV infection. The vaccines protect you only from specific strains of HPV you haven’t been exposed to already.
Does the HPV vaccine carry any health risks or side effects?
The HPV vaccine has been found to be safe in many studies. Overall, the effects are usually mild. The most common side effects of HPV vaccines include soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site. Sometimes dizziness or fainting occurs after the injection. Remaining seated for 15 minutes after the injection can reduce the risk of fainting. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue or weakness also may occur. The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor the vaccines for unusual or severe problems.