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HPV Vaccine Reducing Cervical Cancer

  • 05 Nov 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, new research has found that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Cervarix) reduces the risk of Cervical Cancer significantly in women.

  • The results are important because the vaccine was introduced in the 2000s and studies confirming that it is effective against cancer have come up only recently.

Key Points

  • Findings:
    • The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduced cervical cancer cases by 87% among women in the U.K. who received the vaccine when they were 12 or 13 years old.
    • It reduced the risk by 34% in women who were aged 16-18 years when they were offered the jab.
    • Over a period of 11 years (since 2006), the vaccine prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous conditions.
  • Cervical Cancer:
    • It is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix - the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
    • Various strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) play a role in causing most cervical cancer.
    • When exposed to HPV, the body's immune system typically prevents the virus from doing harm. In a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells.
    • The HPV vaccine (Cervarix) protects against two of the cancer-causing strains, which are HPV 16 and 18.
  • Human papillomavirus:
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.
    • There are more than 100 types of HPV.
      • More than 40 types of HPV are spread through direct sexual contact.
      • Out of these 40, two cause genital warts, while about a dozen of HPV cause different types of cancer including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar and vaginal.
  • Types of HPV Vaccines:
    • Quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil): It protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11). The latter two strains cause genital warts.
    • Bivalent vaccine (Cervarix): It protects against HPV 16 and 18 only.
    • Non valent vaccine (Gardasil 9): It protects against nine strains of HPV.
      • These vaccines prevent cervical cancer in women and girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus.
  • Indian Scenario:
    • India is home to 16-17% of the world’s population, globally 27% of total cervical cancer cases are from here.
    • Further, in India about 77% cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV 16 and 18.
    • In India, bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines were licensed in 2008 and a non valent vaccine was licensed in 2018.
    • Officially, the HPV vaccine has not been recommended for boys and males in India.


  • It is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs. The latter process is called metastasizing and is a major cause of death from cancer.
  • A neoplasm and malignant tumor are other common names for cancer.
  • Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women.
  • World Cancer Day is organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and celebrated each year on 4th February.
  • Related Indian Initiatives:

Source: IE

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