India has one of the highest cancer rates in the world. Every year around 7 lakh new cancer patients are registered in our country. According to statistics, there are 2.5 million people afflicted with cancer in India.
Oral cancer, lung cancer, and liver cancer are the most common cancers affecting our male population, while breast, cervix, and ovaries are the common sites for developing cancer in females.
With the development of cancer prevention vaccine, we can now keep certain cancers at bay. Like BCG vaccines, cancer vaccines protect our body from viruses that can cause diseases which can develop into cancer.
There are 2 types of cancer vaccine available:
1) HPV Vaccine: HPV or human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection most commonly associated with cervical cancer. Immunisation with HPV vaccine can provide protection against such cancers. HPV vaccine should ideally be given to girls and boys between the age of 9-12 years. However, getting vaccinated till the age of 26 can protect against some HPV strains that the body has not already been exposed to. The vaccine is ineffective if you have already been infected with the virus.
HPV Vaccine can protect you against:
-Cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer
HPV vaccines are in 2 variants, bivalent and quadrivalent. The bivalent vaccine offers immunity against HPV 16 and 18 whereas quadrivalent vaccine generates immunity against HPV 16, 18, 11 and 6.
The vaccine isn’t recommended for people who are pregnant or are severely ill. People allergic to yeast or latex should inform their doctors about it before the vaccination.
2) Hepatitis B Vaccine: Prevention of chronic hepatitis B viral infection can reduce the cases of liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer, hepatitis B virus is one of the most common factors for causing liver cancer.
The vaccine is given as 3-4 shots over a period of 6 months. Ideally, infants should get the first shot of vaccine at birth. Children and adolescents younger than 19 years who have not been vaccinated previously should get this vaccine.
People with chronic hepatitis B infection can cause the spread of virus even if they don’t show any symptoms. Hence, it is important to get vaccinated against the infection.
The number of people suffering from cancer is increasing every year, leading to an increase in the number of cancer-related deaths. With HPV and Hepatitis B vaccine we can safeguard ourselves against two common cancers. Whenever resources permit, we should get yourself as well as children vaccinated.
Consult your doctor about these cancer prevention vaccines and safeguard yourself as well as your family.