Cervical Cancer, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and
the Emergence of HPV Vaccination
Cervical cancer is the 9th common cancer that occurs in females in Singapore. A female has a lifetime risk of 0.68% to have cervical cancer. The demographic age occurrence has a bimodal peak, typically affects the age group of 30-34 and 80-84.
Risks factors of Cervical Cancer
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Multiple sexual partners
- Early age of being sexually active
- Prolonged used of oral contraceptive pills (more than 5 years)
- Low immune system
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the main culprit of cervical cancer in women. It also increases the risks of genital warts, anal cancer, and throat cancer in both females and males. In a female, it can also cause cancers of the vagina and vulva.
There are over 150 related types of HPV viruses. It can be transmitted via close skin contact, typically via sexual contact. Hence, HPV infection is one of the sexually transmitted diseases. Infected individuals can show no symptoms nor signs.
Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore guideline-recommended screening of HPV every 5 years in women above the age of 30. Ladies between the age of 25-29 who are sexually active before is advisable for HPV screening via pap smear.
It is advisable for ladies who are sexually active to undergo pap smears every 3 years until the age of 65.
The risks of HPV infection can be reduced with HPV (HPV-9 Valent) vaccination
HPV (Gardasil 9-valent) vaccination covers the 9 common strains of HPV.
HPV type 6 and 11: can cause genital warts in both male and female
HPV 16,18, 31,33, 45, 52, 58: can cause cervical, vulva and vagina cancers in female. They can cause anal cancer in both male and female
It is recommended for unvaccinated males and females from ages 9-26. Although anyone who is above the age group still may benefit from the vaccination.
It is a highly recommended vaccination for risk reduction of cervical cancer.