Aims of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Cervix is the neck of the uterus. It is the bottom, slim part of the uterus which is connected to the topmost part of the vagina. Cervical cancer is believed to be due to the infection caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus). The malignant symptoms of this cancer include bleeding of the vagina, contact bleeding and vaginal mass. Other symptoms include moderate pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal discharge. In the advanced stages of this disease, a person experiences loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, pelvic pain, back pain, leg pain, single swollen leg, heavy vaginal bleeding, bone fractures and leaking of urine or feces from the vagina.
Because of the growing cases of cervical cancer each year, a cervical cancer vaccine was made available. It was aimed to provide protection from HPV which is believed to be the root cause of most cervical cancer. Gardasil is the first cervical cancer vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Its effectiveness is said to be up to 98%. Cervarix is the other cervical cancer vaccine which is already in use in some countries. But in other countries, it is still waiting for approval before its full campaign. Gardasil vaccine protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. Cervarix is said to be 92% effective against HPV 16 and 18. HPV types 6 and 11 are considered as the cause for 90% reason for all genital warts issues. HPV 16 and 18, on the other hand, are considered as the cause for 70% of all cervical cancer issues. The vaccine aims to particularly block the causes of the cancer (such as the HPV) to even get to the core.
Out of the 11,000 American women established to have cervical cancer yearly, close to 4,000 of them die because of the said disease. Is the fifth most common cancer that causes death amongst women. At present, Gardasil and Cervarix are highly recommend to women from ages nine to twenty five years old who never experienced HPV yet. But another study shows that this HPV vaccine can also be effective for women from ages forty-five and above.
Gardasil vaccination among men reduces their risk of getting genital warts and precancerous lesions because of the HPV. This vaccine is particularly popular among gay men. Aside from getting genital warts, they are the ones more likely to have penile and anal cancers as well.
At present, Gardasil is not recommended to pregnant women since its long term fertility effect is not yet known.
Until today, vaccines are reported to be safe. In the United States, more than sixteen million doses of the vaccine were dispensed already. Amongst the most common side-effects are soreness where the injection was done, slight fever, dizziness and fainting. However, all these are only considered common mild effects. There were also reports of some serious side-effects such as brain swelling, severe allergic response, paralysis, weakness and death; however, these were not linked to the vaccine itself. Still, the FDA continues to monitor on this.