Two days ago, my mom brought me to a clinic in Bukit Mertajam for a cervical cancer vaccine after knowing the importance of the HPV vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer. I am sure that many of you lack the awareness of cervical cancer, a type of disease which kills approximately 300,000 women globally every year. If you girls are not aware of the high risk of getting cervical cancer, then I think it's about time you buck up.
This post mainly talks about everything you need to know regarding HPV and cervical cancer,including the types of vaccine and the immunization schedule. I've narrowed down the research so as you can get the very best information. Hope you'll find it useful. =)
Okay, first thing first. You must be wondering what is HPV. HPV is known as Human Papillomavirus, is a viral infection that spreads by skin to skin through sexual contact. HPV is a group of over 100 different viruses, which at least 30 strains known to cause different types of cancer. And one of them is the cervical cancer.
How can you get HPV?
HPV is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can manifest itself in flesh-colored warts that show up one to eight months after you become infected. However, some people infected with HPV have no symptoms at all, which means they could pass it on without even knowing it. Pretty scary isn't it?
Aside from causing genital warts, if a woman has HPV and it doesn't go away on its own, it's possible that the virus can cause abnormal cells to develop in the lining of her cervix. If not discovered early and treated, these abnormal cells can turn into cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a disease that affects the cervix in the female reproductive system, as illustrated above.
What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Many women often pass these symptoms off as PMS or ovulation pains because they mimic common ailments. The symptoms include abnormal bleeding (can be heavy or light bleeding during the month), unusual heavy discharge, pelvic pain, pain during urination and bleeding between regular menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse, douching, or pelvic exam.
Now it's starting to get on your nerves, so what can you actually do about it? Or we say, prevent it before its too late? The answer is pretty much obvious; get a vaccine if you can.
Now back to my own experience. Before the injection took place, the doctor explained to me there are 2 types of vaccine, Cervarix and Gardasil. The doctor suggested Gardasil for me, as it protects against four types of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, 18) compared to Cervarix which only protects 2 types. It can be given to girls as young as nine years old, and any woman can get the vaccine if she feels at risk. After all, people used to say, prevention is better than cure, right?
So, I just had my first dose before proceeding to my second dose which is due on Chinese New Year. For your information, the Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) is recommended in a three-dose schedule with the second and third doses administered two and six months after the first dose. Remember, you must have three doses to form a complete protection!
Also, get consultation from your doctor before you proceed to get your injection. You might want to ask for Gardasil vaccine instead of Cervarix, as Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV. You can also go for a Pap Smear test which can detect abnormal cervical changes years before they become cancerous and begin to produce symptoms.