Cervical cancer, which is ranked 4th among the world cancers for women cancers, is one of the cancers that regular health screenings saves lives due to the cancer’s lack of symptoms at the early stage and its insidious progression. Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital Gynecological Oncology Specialist. Dr. Orhan Ünal points out that, as well as informing and vaccinating women, men should be informed about protection from HPV infection.
It is known that the most important factor in the occurrence of cervical cancer is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Cancer begins with the HPV agent entering the cervix tissue years ago, disrupting the structure of the cells and preparing the ground for cancer in years. The deterioration of the connective tissue underlines that the cancer has started. If no diagnosis is made during this period, which is considered as an early stage in terms of cervical cancer, the disease is progressing with a very rapid course. Yeditepe University Koşuyolu Hospital Gynecological Oncology Specialist. Dr. Orhan Ünal said that the rate of cervical cancer-related loss of life has decreased by more than 75 percent over the past century in countries where screening has been intense. “If the screening coverage rate exceeds 80 percent, it is stated that the loss of life rate can be reduced by more than 95 percent. These figures reveal the importance of regular follow-up from an early age.”
- HOW DOES HPV AFFECT MEN?
While HPV infection is seen as the cause of penile cancer in men, oral sex again; It can be involved in the etiology of head, neck, tongue and larenx cancers. In gay men, it can cause anal or rectal cancers.
LEADING LESIONS OCCUR AFTER 20 YEARS
Stating that more than 90 percent of early precursor lesions in cervical cancer are seen under the age of 45 and reach the highest level in between the ages 25-29, Dr. Orhan Ünal gives the following information: “According to the studies, the frequency of occurrence in developed countries where scans are organized in an average is 20 people per 100 thousand, while in countries with limited economic resources, this figure rises up to 80 per 100 thousand.”
Of course, if early diagnosis and treatment is not done early, the path from this disease to death is not easy at all. The painful aches and genital fistulas cause the patient to have a hard time for his relatives while making themselves miserable. Quality of life is gradually decreasing. The infection does not stop following the patient and the patient is captured by then painkillers. Unfortunately, death occurs in desperation as a result of suffering life.
TREATMENT SUCCESS IN EARLY STAGES INCREASES TO 90 PERCENT
Prof. Dr. Orhan Ünal pointed out that the success of treatment in cervical cases with early diagnosis reached up to 90 percent and said, “It is possible to diagnose leading lesions or cancer in the early period by performing vaginal smears, colposcopy and biopsy from suspicious tissues. Unfortunately, cervical cancer, which can develop in women who do not have regular follow-ups or who have never had a smear, is spreading rapidly. The life span of the patient also changes according to the stage of the cancer.”
WHO SHOULD BE VACCINATED?
In cervical cancer, the vaccines used are divided into two groups as preventive and therapeutic vaccines. However, since therapeutic vaccines are still under study, preventive vaccines come to the fore. Although there are about 200 different types of HPV viruses, reminding that the protective vaccines are only for cancer-causing types, following information is given:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends routinely administering the HPV vaccine on the importance of cervical cancer and participating in the vaccination national program. Protective vaccines used worldwide are quadrivalent (4 vaccine) and bivalan (2) vaccine. The 9 vaccine has not been put into use in our country yet.
Since HPV infections that cause cervical cancer are mostly observed after sexual activity in young people, the purpose of vaccination programs is to perform vaccination before sexual activity. For this reason, the age range in which the effect of the vaccine on the immune system will be best has been determined as 11-12. Since HPV infections causing cervical cancer are mostly observed after sexual activity in young people, the purpose of vaccination programs is to perform vaccination before sexual activity.
It is stated that it provides close to 100% protection against lesions caused by HPV types. However, it should be explained that cervical screening should continue until the age of 65, as vaccines are not effective for other HPV types. With the onset of sexual life, screening should continue from the age of 25 to 65. However, screening should be continued after the age of 65 in risky patients, especially women who have previously had HPV infection.
SHOULD MEN BE VACCINATED?
Although vaccinating men is controversial, Prof. Dr. Orhan Ünal stated that in some countries such as Australia, Mexico, England and the USA, the vaccine has been approved and said, “The FDA approved the 4 vaccine for 9-26 years of age for the prevention of genital warts in men. Information has been recorded that the vaccine protects men from HPV-related anogenital and head and neck cancers and prevents viral transmission. It is very important to inform men about HPV infections and HPV passages as well as to vaccinate and inform women about the subject. The main issue is that the appropriate timing of HPV immunity (vaccination) for both men and women is done before starting sexual activity.”