HPV Awareness: Protecting Against Cervical Cancer

HPV Awareness: Protecting Against Cervical Cancer Sat , Mar 4

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  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects both men and women. While many people with HPV do not experience symptoms, some strains of the virus can cause genital warts and lead to cancer.

  • According to GLOBOCAN 2020, cancer of the cervix uteri is the 3rd most common cancer in India with an Incidence rate of 18.3% (123,907 cases) and the second leading cause of death with a mortality rate of 9.1%

  • WHO estimated that Cervical cancer India 2021 country profile, around 453 million Indian women aged 15 years and above are at risk of developing cancer HPV is responsible for the majority of cervical cancer cases worldwide.

  • Cervical cancer is a major cause of cancer mortality in women, and India contributes a quarter of its global burden. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women, with an estimated 604,000 new cases in 2020. In India, there are approximately 365.71 million women above 15 years of age at risk of developing cervical cancer. In 2020, an estimated 341,831 women worldwide died from cervical cancer.

  • Fortunately, there are several ways to protect against HPV and reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer.

  • Here are some important things to know about HPV and how to protect against it:

HPV is preventable

  • The best way to prevent HPV is through vaccination. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective, and it is recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14. Ideally, the vaccine should be given before a person becomes sexually active, as it is most effective at this time. However, even if a person is already sexually active, the vaccine can still provide some protection against future infections.

Regular screenings are essential

  • Even if you have received the HPV vaccine, it is still important to get regular cervical cancer screenings. Pap tests can detect abnormal cells on the cervix, which can be treated before they turn into cancer. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get a Pap test every three years. Women over the age of 65 who have had regular screenings in the past and have no history of abnormal Pap tests may be able to stop getting screened.

Practice safe sex

  • HPV is spread through sexual contact, so practicing safe sex is important. Using condoms can reduce the risk of HPV transmission, although it does not provide complete protection. It is also important to limit the number of sexual partners you have and to avoid sexual activity with people who have visible genital warts or other signs of an HPV infection.

HPV can affect men too

  • While cervical cancer is the most well-known consequence of HPV, the virus can also cause other types of cancer in both men and women. Men can develop genital warts and may also be at risk for developing anal, penile, or throat cancer as a result of an HPV infection.

    HPV Vaccines at MGM Children’s and Varam for Women

    At MGM Healthcare, we offer HPV vaccines for children and adults at our MGM Children’s Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology, and Varam for Women, a dedicated women’s health specialty centre. Our team of experts can help you determine if the vaccine is right for you or your child, and answer any questions you may have about the vaccine. We are committed to raising awareness about HPV and cervical cancer. We offer vaccination and screening services to help protect against HPV and prevent cervical cancer. We also encourage all women to speak with their healthcare provider about their risk of HPV and the importance of regular screenings. Call us today at 044 25 24 24 24 for appointments and get your vaccination done!


    Written by,

    Dr Lakshmi Aswathaman, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology

    Date Published: 4th March, 2023.