Cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way. With cervical cancer, the cancer begins in cells that make up the cervix. The cervix is the part of the female reproductive that connects the uterus (womb) to the vagina.
Cervical cancer is neither genetic nor hereditary. Over 99% of cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is caught during intimate genital skin to skin contact.
There are vaccines that prevent infection with HPV. Two types of vaccines are available, and both are approved for use by the Ministry of Health and the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD).
HPV vaccines prevent more than 70% of cervical cancer. In addition, HAAD recommends that all women aged 25-65 years undergo regular screening with Pap tests, at least once every 3-5 years.
HPV is a very common virus. Up to 8 out 10 women will be infected by HPV at some point in their lives. Infection is common in women under age of 25. For most women, HPV goes away on its own without causing problems. However, for some women, HPV infections persist and can cause cervical cancer and other less common cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva.
HAAD has approved the HPV vaccine for girls and young women from 15 to 26 years of age. Studies have shown that immunogenicity of the vaccine is higher when administered at a younger age, therefore each girl is encouraged to take the vaccine as early as possible during adolescence, and some years before marriage.
The vaccine is administered by injection into the muscle of the upper arm. The vaccine is given once per lifetime, in 3 doses over 6 month period. In case of interruption, please refer back to your healthcare provider to resume vaccination and complete the three doses of vaccine at school (for 15-17 years of age). It is not recommended to repeat vaccination at a later stage.
HPV vaccination is not given, or delayed, for the following reasons: