Karnataka's only govt cancer hospital backs giving cervical cancer vaccine to students

Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in India and the only one which can be prevented with a vaccine.

Published: 17th November 2021 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2021 05:04 PM   |  A+A-

Alcohol can also worsen the cancer-causing effects of other substances, such as tobacco.

For representational purposes (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in India and the only type of cancer which can be prevented with a vaccine. Yet, awareness on both screening for this cancer and the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent it remains low.

Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology Cancer Research and Training Centre, the only government cancer hospital in Karnataka, sees nearly 1500 cases of cervical cancer each year, most of whom come in the late stages.

In a preliminary meeting with the health department, the director of the institute recommended the government take up immunisation of adolescent girls against cervical cancer.

"We recommended that HPV vaccines be administered to 30 lakh odd female students between the ages of 9 and 15 years. They have to be given two doses each with a gap of six months in between. 108 countries have approved it. The government will have to decide on bearing the cost and giving it for free," said Dr Dr C Ramachandra, director of Kidwai. The cancer caused by the HPV, transmitted sexually, affects those post 30 years of age and also women above 60 years, said Dr V Annapurna, Gynec Oncologist, Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.

"The mortality rate of cervical cancer is high and this vaccine can give 100 percent protection if given to those who have not been sexually active, between the ages of 11 years and 26 (or even as late as 30) years. If they are sexually active, they have to get screened through the pap smear test and can also take the vaccine, although the
protection may not be as significant," Dr V Annapurna said, adding that the Karnataka government can make it available at reduced rates and immunise children in schools.

She explained that it takes anywhere between 5 and 25 years for the infection to turn into cancer and can hence be caught early through pap smear screening and treated. Unfortunately, people currently arrive in the second and third stage as no proper screening is done. "The vaccine cost is however an issue with each dose priced between Rs 3500 and Rs 4000. For those between 11 and 15 years, two doses have to be given. For those between 15 and 26 years, three doses have to be given," Dr. Annapurna added.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

Irregular menstruation with spotting or bleeding

Post menopausal bleeding

Spotting or bleeding after sex

Spotting or bleeding after sex in post-menopausal women

Persistent foul smelling white discharge/discharge which is blood-stained

Persistent back ache which cannot be cured by over-the-counter drugs

Loss of control over urine and motion


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