Girls should take two shots of HPV vaccine

Girls should take two shots of HPV vaccine

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Girls age 9 to 14 that take two shots of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines over six months will have a high chance to stave off cervical cancer, said the Taiwan Immunization Vision and Strategy.

Statistics show about 1,600 females are diagnosed with cervical cancer and another 700 die of the disease in Taiwan every year. Equivalent to 4 diagnosed cases and 1.8 deaths per day, it is the seventh deadly cancer form for women in Taiwan.

Experts say HPV vaccines and pap tests are the two most effective ways to prevent the cancer.

For women age 10 to 25, the vaccines are given as a series of three shots over six months. However, clinical data shows that for girls age 9 to 14, two shots administered over six months will achieve the same effect, said Lee Ping-ing from the Taiwan Immunization Vision and Strategy.

The finding is expected to increase the use of vaccines as well as saving related healthcare costs.

Since the introduction of pap tests, which is a cervical screening method used to detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous developments, the occurrence of cervical cancer in Taiwan has dropped from 27 per 100,000 people in 1992 to 17 in the current level, a 36-per cent reduction, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The HPV vaccine is also a great weapon against the disease and should be more widely administered. Cervical cancer is the only known form of cancer that can be prevented by vaccines effectively, said Taiwan Association of Gynecologic Oncologists (TAGO).

TAGO said pap tests and HPV vaccines should be used together as a way to double up defence against the deadly cancer.

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