Simply put: Can this vaccine check cervical cancer?

The health ministry is keen on introducing the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in the universal immunisation programme, hoping to check the incidence of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer among Indian women.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | Updated: December 30, 2015 7:41 am
cancer The leading cancer among Indian women is of the breasts, followed by cervix. Data from the national cancer registry shows that 92,731 cases of cervical cancer were reported in 2013, a figure that is projected to go up to 1,00,479 in 2020.

What is HPV?

Human Papilloma Virus, commonly known by its abbreviation HPV, is a group of more than 150 viruses that cause papilloma or warts in parts of the body, including genital areas. They spread by skin-to-skin contact and are responsible for a number of diseases, including cancers, though they are most commonly associated with cancer of the cervix (neck of the uterus).

Is HPV the sole cause of cervical cancer?

No, but it is the most common cause of cervical cancer, which ranks second among all cancers in Indian women. HPV is associated with more than 80 per cent cervical cancers — not all HPV infections go on to become cancerous. Dr K Karthigeyan of the Department of Paediatrics at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, published an article in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology that said: “HPV is a necessary cause of cervical cancer, but it is not a sufficient cause. Other co-factors are necessary for progression from cervical HPV infection to cancer. Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives, multiple pregnancies, early initiation of sexual activity, multiple sex partners, tobacco smoking and co-infection with HIV have been identified as co-factors…”

Share This Article
Related Article

What is the incidence of cervical cancer in India?

The leading cancer among Indian women is of the breasts, followed by cervix. Data from the national cancer registry shows that in 2013, 92,731 cases of cervical cancer were reported in India, a figure that is projected to go up to 1,00,479 in 2020 (Source: National Health Profile). India accounts for about a third of the global cervical cancer deaths. This is a slight improvement from before when cervix was the leading cancer site. Increase in the age of sexual activity initiation, better hygiene, education among women, late first pregnancy etc. are believed to have marginally improved the cervical cancer scene in India. The anti-HPV vaccine is expected to further check the incidence of the disease.

Who will be administered the HPV vaccine? Is it available now?

The vaccine will be administered under the country’s universal immunisation programme, where a set of vaccines are administered free of cost at government institutions, all of them currently to children. The vaccine is recommended for girls at the age of 11-12 years though it can be administered to both boys and girls of that age. The US National Cancer Institute recommends “vaccination of females aged 13 through 26 years and of males aged 13 through 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the three-dose vaccination series. Males aged 22 through 26 years may be vaccinated”. In India, it is marketed by two companies, Gardasil and Glaxosmithkline, and is administered largely in the private sector, if the doctor feels the need or if the patient demands it. The vaccine currently costs less than $5 a dose.

When will the vaccine be part of the universal immunisation programme?

Not any time soon. For now, the ministry has asked a sub-committee of the National Advisory Group on Immunisation, a body that recommends new vaccines for the national programme, to weigh the pros and cons of introduction of HPV vaccine.

Is the vaccine controversial?

In 2009, a project anchored by an international NGO to inject 32,000 children in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat with the cervical cancer vaccine ran into rough weather after some deaths were reported. It later came to light that the vaccines had been administered without the requisite consent of the families. The project had to be discontinued and was cited by activists as one of the instances of multinational companies exploiting the poor for their clinical trials.

The matter is still sub-judice but the incident cast a shadow on HPV vaccination in India. The other challenge involved in introducing the HPV vaccine in India is convincing parents about the need to vaccinate their pre-puberty daughters for a disease that is essentially spread by sexual contact.

Is HPV vaccine the only way to control cervical cancer?

No. Opinions vary on whether condoms prevent HPV infection. However, countries such as the United States, which has successfully arrested incidence of cervical cancer, have relied as much on vaccines as on mandatory screening of all women of reproductive age.

What is the status of cervical cancer screening in India?

Cancer of the cervix is one of the few kinds of cancer (breast, oral etc) that can be isolated during screening. However, despite a national programme for screening, there is very little emphasis on it. The primary reason is said to be the lack of trained personnel. However, a low-cost screening method using vinegar — a test that is easy to administer — has not been popularised either.

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App

  1. K
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm
    Death rate: 1 per 733 administered. Female potion between the age 0-14: 172,799,553. uming just 25% is administered with KILLER VACCINE HPV: NUMBER OF DEATHS:58,936. uming 50% is administered: NUMBER OF DEATHS 117,872. uming 100% of the potion is administered HPV KILLER VACCINE: NUMBER OF DEATHS: 235,744.
  2. K
    Jan 1, 2016 at 4:16 pm
    Dan Kegel states death rate if not administered with HPV vaccine: 1 per 8 minutes. BUT IF THE KILLER VACCINE IS ADMINISTERED, NUMBER IF DEATHS PER MINUTE = 235744/ (365x24x60)= 0.45 DEATHS PER MINUTE. That translates to 3.6 DEATHS PER 8 minutes. This is 360% more than when KILLER VACCINE NOT administered. THIS IS A SIMPLE PROOF THAT WHAT DAN KEGEL SAYS ON BEHALF OF THE VACCINE LOBBY IS ALL UNTRUE. References: (1) 1 death per 733 ratio was obtained from the data published by MERK, HPV vaccine GARDASIL manufacturer itself. Deaths in the Entire Study Potion Across the clinical studies, 40 deaths (GARDASIL N = 21 or 0.1%; placebo N = 19 or 0.1%) were reported in 29,323 (GARDASIL N = 15,706; AAHS control N = 13,023, saline placebo N = 594) individuals (9- through 45-year-old girls and women; and 9- through 26-year-old boys and men). The events reported were consistent with events expected in healthy adolescent and adult potions. -wwwDOThealthimpactnewsDOTcom_________(2) Potion of women between 0-14 from Wikipedia.
  3. मनीष
    Jan 3, 2016 at 5:02 am
    Every time when India is terrorized by stanis, Indian Muslims have provided support to those stani terrorists. Enough is enough. Excluding the SICKulars, any Indian who wants to contribute to the war against terrorism in India, should stop buying things made in an Islamic country and stop doing business with a Muzzie owned store/business. You have to act!
  4. D
    Dan Kegel
    Jan 5, 2016 at 3:36 am
    India has had trouble getting pap smears rolled out, but it has a long history of success with vaccines. Plus, pap smears can't detect many of the cancers caused by HPV. So, while pap smears are definitely a good idea, both approaches together are an even better idea. The anonymous commenter "KILLER-HPV-VACCINE" is at best misinformed about HPV vaccine causing deaths; it has not caused any as far as I know, and statistics from independent researchers like Lisen Arnheim-Dahlstrom confirm that HPV vaccine simply hasn't caused many if any health problems. Commenter Aanand Sharma claims that the HPV vaccine was responsible for the deaths of 15 girls in a clinical trial in India -- but if you look at the record, one fell down a well, two died from drinking poison, one died from snakebite, one died from malaria, and so on. None of the deaths was even remotely connected with the vaccine, except perhaps in the minds of antivaccine activists and the words of politicians. The hubub about the trial did have one great benefit: informed consent is now taken much more seriously.
  5. M
    Jan 4, 2016 at 12:54 am
    Pap Smear is much safer than HPV vaccines. The vaccines deal with only a few of the several viruses that can cause cancer. And what about all the side effects ? In the US , there exist a government funded trust, to compensate for all the victims who got hurt from the vaccine side effects.
  6. M
    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:41 pm
    Even after 28 Andra women were killed during clinical trials of HPV vaccine, the health ministry bustards are insisting on forcibly introducing the KILLER VACCINE. The UNITED NATIONS has become a virtual MARKETING AGENCY for ILLUMINATI POWERED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. Similarly many new born babies were ruthlessly murdered by PENTAVALENT KILLER VACCINE. All this makes me believe that the criminal ILLUMINATI is actually implementing the m murder of global potion. All those who take this decision in the health department including the top bustard J P NADDA and his family members should be accounted for introducing such M MURDER VACCINES. To all responsible citizens of India, Please read " and search clinical trials of hpv vaccine india.
  7. G
    Dec 30, 2015 at 5:08 am
    Looks like the m murderer Modi the BUTCHER has sold the entire indian potion to the global vaccine manufacturing lobby. Brahmin Jihadist Party must have got a few billion as its party fund for implementing their national agenda of m murdering Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains. Brahmins scoundrels will stoop to any low level.
  8. M
    Dec 30, 2015 at 4:59 am
    Credit : healthimpactnewsDOTcom :- Dr. Dalbergue (pictured above), a former pharmaceutical industry physician with Gardasil manufacturer Merck, was interviewed in the April 2014 issue of the French magazine Principes de Sante (Health Principles). "The full extent of the Gardasil scandal needs to be essed: everyone knew when this vaccine was released on the American market that it would prove to be worthless! Diane Harper, a major opinion leader in the United States, was one of the first to blow the whistle, pointing out the fraud and scam of it all. Cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS and vaccine-induced encephalitis can be found, whatever the vaccine. I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers. There is far too much financial interest for these medicines to be withdrawn.
  9. Load More Comments