Cervical cancer is one of the preventable cancers among women. It is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women in India. Woman in India have a 2.5% life time risk to get cervical cancer, which is double the risk as compared to the data worldwide (1.3%). It is estimated that cervical cancer will occur in approximately 1 in 53 Indian women during their lifetime compared with 1 in 100 women in more developed regions of the world. There are more than 100 types of HPV and of these about 15 high-risk types cause most of the cases of cervical cancer, two of these types (16 and 18) are believed to cause 70% of these cases (76.7% in India).
HPV vaccine is one of the recommended interventions for cervical cancer control worldwide. It has been included in the national immunization programmes in more than 60 countries. There are three vaccines available against HPV. The primary target group for HPV vaccine is girls aged 9-13 yr as per the WHO recommendations. Other target groups are older adolescent females or young women.
WHO has also revised the recommendation from a three-dose schedule to a two-dose schedule based on the emerging data on the efficacy of the two-dose schedule.
It is increasingly clear that HPV vaccination is essential for cervical cancer prevention. Persistent infection with one of the 15 high-risk HPV types is considered a basic cause of cervical cancer.
Heightened public awareness regarding healthy and safe sexual behavior together with early detection by screening (Pap smear / Visual examination by acetic acid / ThinPrep / HPV DNA testing) are essential for the prevention of cervical cancer.