Why women should take HPV Vaccine and Pap Smear Test at least once in two years?
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women. According to WHO, in 2018, an estimated 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. As scary it sounds, if diagnosed on time, it is also one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer. This type of cancer develops in a woman’s cervix, the uterus’ entrance from the vagina. A simple pap smear test can save you from a life-threatening disease. Our Obgyn, Dr. Irem Eda Gokedemir, strongly believes cervical cancer is treatable if taken care of from the beginning. Dr. Ireme has extensive experience in the public and private sectors.
Cervical cancer cases occur due to the infection with high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that gets transmitted while having sexual contact without protection. At 7DMC, we have state of the art radiology department and laboratories that can help you to conduct all kinds of examinations and catch cancer at the early stages. Both our family doctors and gynecologists can guide you in the right direction if you want to get tested or get vaccinated.
Let us understand what is cervical cancer, HPV vaccine, and how the HPV vaccine can prevent cancer.
Why is HPV vaccine essential?
HPV is one of such viruses that gets transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. Most women in their late teens are likely to get this virus if they are sexually active. The virus has 40 different forms that can infect the genital areas of both males and females. Some forms do not have any typical symptoms and heal on their own.
However, some specific forms of this virus can lead to cervical cancer and other unpopular forms of cancer like penis cancer or anus cancer. Women are more vulnerable to this particular virus. That is why going for HPV vaccination is inevitable, especially for women. Doctors recommend the first vaccination after 11-12 years of age.
When a girl reaches puberty, it is the best time to go for the first vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Girls and Boys of 11-12 years of age should get two doses of the vaccine.
Is HPV Vaccine Effective Enough?
This is one of the popular questions that can brim on your mind. The main aim of the HPV vaccine is to target that particular form of the virus that can lead to cervical cancer. The vaccine dose makes sure that the sexually active individual is well-protected. However, if a woman is already exposed to the virus, the vaccine will not work. In that case, the patient will need appropriate treatment. The HPV vaccine is eligible to prevent more than 90% of HPV-prone cancers.
How does the HPV vaccine help?
According to U. S. food and drug administration (FDA), both girls and boys at age 11 to 12 years are highly recommended to take the HPV vaccine. Giving the vaccine to children can help to protect them against associated diseases later in life, such as:
- Cervical cancer in women
- Vaginal and vulvar cancer in women
- Genital warts in both men and women
- Anal cancer in both men and women
Vaccinating boys against HPV not only helps the spread of the virus but also protects against some types of throat and mouth cancer, which HPV has also been linked to. If you want to get your child vaccinated, you can discuss with our family medicine specialist Dr. Nivine Cheaito, who is a specialist in preventive medicines, immunization, health-risk assessments, and screening tests.
This is one of the popular questions that can brim on our patients’ minds. The main aim of the HPV vaccine is to target that particular form of the virus that can lead to cervical cancer. The vaccine dose makes sure that the sexually active individual is well-protected. However, if a woman is already exposed to the virus, the vaccine will not work. In that case, the patient will need appropriate treatment. The HPV vaccine is eligible to prevent more than 90% of HPV-prone cancers.
How long does the vaccination last?
According to the NHS (UK), the doses of the vaccine provide protection for 10 years. Although some experts suggest, it may last longer. The forms of the virus have changed, but most HPV vaccines provide protection from 16-18 types of HPVs.
With the growing gynecological disorders among women, the rate of cervical cancer has also increased lately. This is because the changing lifestyle of every individual invites more diseases every day. Every 4 women among 5 suffer from gynecological problems like PCOD or PCOS. The hormonal issues and problems in reproductive organs can increase your chances of cervical cancer. To avoid such risk, getting the vaccine is the safest and easiest way that can benefit every woman. And if you have crossed the age to get vaccinated, we recommend you get a vaginal swab test every two years.
Where to go for vaccination?
Our clinic is fully equipped and provides HPV vaccines to our patients. All you need to do is book an appointment with our gynecology department, and they will guide you further. You have to book your schedule in advance and arrive at the center on the vaccine day.
How Pap Smear Test and HPV Vaccine are connected?
People have a misconception that getting vaccinated is enough, and they do not need to go for a pap smear test. HPV vaccination reduces the risk of cervical cancer, but it does not intend to replace pap smears. A Pap smear test is the primary diagnosis to determine whether there are any cancerous cells near or on your cervix.
This is a simple diagnosis that can be done in any doctor’s chamber. According to the recent medical guidelines, women above 21 years should go for a pap smear test every two years. Tests are needed more frequently if you are prone to infection or cervical cancer. Like:
- If you are HIV positive
- If you are prone to infection
- If you are a patient of PCOD or PCOS and are under treatment
Our doctors recommend women of 30-60 years of age need to go for both HPV vaccine and Pap smear test every two years. Our women’s wellness package covers pap smear tests, or else you can get the test done at your next gynecologist visit.
How can Pap Smear Test benefit you?
Early detection of any disease is critical. The patient can immediately start the treatment procedures if there is any abnormality. Pap smear helps detect cancerous polyps in the cervical region of a woman. The expected benefits are:
- The normal result of the test reassures that you are out of danger
- A Pap test every two years aid in finding the precancerous cell even before any symptom
- It can stop the spread of the cancerous cells (if any) with appropriate treatment that begins on time.
- It increases the chance of survival if detected at an early stage
- Early findings mean early treatment and less recovery time
A pap smear test is a must for every woman after the age of 21. However, it is also essential to get accurate results for further treatment. Choosing a trustworthy clinic is worth it when it comes to a pap smear test or HPV vaccine. Place your trust in 7 Dimension Medical Center serving people in Dubai (UAE) for your pap smear test to get an accurate result.
When Can You Stop Taking Both?
We brought this question here for a specific reason. Many women often ask whether they should stop taking vaccines or the test when they are not sexually active anymore. The answer is a strict NO.
You are indeed more prone to the infection when you are sexually active. But, it doesn’t mitigate the entire risk after your active phase. Medical guidelines recommend taking vaccines and the test every two years up to 60 years of age. If you think you have to stop taking both due to any other health issue, you should discuss it with your doctor and finalize your decision accordingly.
The Concluding Thought
With the advancement of medical science worldwide, you can now undertake various treatments to fight any disease. We all know battling cancer isn’t a hard pill to swallow. Hence, it is best to keep in mind the old proverb that says – ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
The HPV vaccine followed by a pap smear test is the stepping stone to prevent the deadly disease- Cancer. Do not delay to do your part by starting with the first step. Book your appointment with a reputed medical center today!