Screening is the best method to prevent cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is heralded as second most common form of cancer among women in developing world but largest cause of death.The causative agent linked to cervical cancer development is Human papilloma virus (HPV). Screening identifies the disease early and treats it at its premature stage disrupting its progression.
1.Vaccination against HPV virus : Cervical cancer vaccine prevents HPV infection and hence cervical cancer and genital warts. Vaccines should be definitely given to girls and young adults before they become sexually active.
Two dose of vaccines are adequate for girls less than or equal to 15 yrs age. But for more than 15 yrs 3 doses are given. In 2 dose schedule second vaccine is given 6-24 months after the first. In 3 dose schedule 0,1 and 6th month are chosen to deliver vaccine.
If 2 dose schedule is interrupted it is resumed and not repeated even if 24 months have elapsed regardless of age at which girl presents. If the girl has received 2 doses less than 6 months apart then it is not considered adequate to provide long term immunity and third dose has to be given.
HPV vaccines can be given at the same time with other vaccines but on different sites or at least 2.5cm apart.
It is not recommended in pregnancy , with moderate or severe acute illness and in patients with history of hypersensitivity to yeast or any vaccine component.
These vaccines are not 100% protective for cervical cancer ,hence they cannot replace periodic screening.
2. Pap smear screening every 3 yrs after the age of 21 yrs regardless of sex debut.
3. Avoid risk factors and follow as advised:
Increase marriage age
Treat sexually transmitted diseases at the earliest
Contact your gynecologic oncologist for further queries.