Thursday, April 05, 2007

Prevention of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is one of the commonest cancers in women. It is closely associated with infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) in human females. Infection of HPV are often symptomless.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in the United States recommends quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls and women aged 9 to 26 years, according to guidelines published in the March 12 Early Release issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Quadrivalent HPV vaccine is available as a sterile suspension for injection in a single-dose vial or a prefilled syringe, and it is administered intramuscularly as 3 separate 0.5-mL doses. The second dose should be administered 2 months after the first dose and the third dose 6 months after the first dose.

The recommended age for vaccination of girls is 11 to 12 years during the established young adolescent healthcare visit at age 11 to 12 years as recommended by several professional organizations when other vaccines are also recommended.

It is now routinely given in the United States. In New South Wales, Australia quadrivalent HPV vaccines are being offered free to all its female citizens. The vaccine is available in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the government clinics do not offer the vaccine.

I recommend all girls and women be vaccinated against the HPV at 12 years and above. It is rarely that we have a vaccine for prevention of any cancer. The only problem is its cost. At present it cost more than RM$400.00 per dose and a full course is 3 doses. This means it will cost a family RM$1,200.00 + medical doctor charges per female, which makes it beyond the reach of most families. I appeal to the company producing the vaccine to reduce the price on humanitarian grounds.

Other views
From Today's Woman Magazine, The HPV Vaccine

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doctor Alex, I agree with you. Large organisations such as the ones that produce this vaccine should look into protecting the mass instead of making plenty of money. However, as large organisations go, money is spent in many areas: the invention of the vaccine, production, logistics and many other areas. Nevertheless, price is still an issue for many and you have my support with this issue.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Anonymous,

welcome and thank you for your comment.

I believe large multinational companies have a moral obligation and responsibility to make available at low prices their products that is beneficial to the poorer countries.

I realise that they are investing large amount of money in R&D. However I also know that they are squeezing as much as they can out of their successful products.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Doctor, this is only one vaccine that saves lives in the future. HIV medications which would undoubtedly benefit millions of suffering people are still sold at an expensive price which I think is unfair. Do the poor not deserve a right to a better quality of life?? I think everybody deserves a great life.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi anonymous,

Thank you for your comments. While it is true that HIV medications are still expensive, the various pharmaceutical companies have brought down the prices dramatically.

While it is true that everybody deserves a right to a better quality of life, we must also insist that everyone takes better care of their lifestyles. HIV medication is only one of the many factors involved in the HIV epidermic.

1:50 AM  

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