Women receive new HPV vaccine against cervical cancer

Cai Wenjun
The first round of women received the new HPV vaccine, after the age limit was extended. The move is aimed at early cervical cancer prevention and control.
Cai Wenjun

Shot by Dong Jun. Subtitles by Cai Wenjun.

The first batch of local women, within the applicable age for the 9-valent HPV vaccine, received the injection on Friday.

The National Health Commission approved the extension for eligible women from the previous age range of 16 to 26, to age 9 to 45 in August, in an effort to enhance cervical cancer prevention and control.

Cervical cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers among women. A recent report showed that in 2020, among Chinese women between the ages of 15 and 44, both the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer rank third among female cancers. In China, over 90 percent of cervical cancers are caused by high-risk HPV strains.

"According to the World Health Organization, girls between the ages of 9 and 14 should be the primary target for vaccination. The earlier the vaccination the better the effect," said Lu Hongmei from the Songjiang District Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "If adolescent girls are vaccinated against HPV, it's easy to stimulate a better immune response, and women who have not had sex will achieve the best preventive effect."

"For other women, HPV vaccination also provides protection," she said. "We encourage more eligible women to receive the vaccination."

A 45-year-old womon surnamed Wang became the first beneficiary.

She received the injection at the Songjiang District Zhongshan Subdistrict Neighborhood Health Center in the early morning.

"I'm lucky to receive the first injection of the 9-valent HPV vaccine, after they extended the age limit. Women need to take care of their health," Wang said. "After learning about the extended age limit, I immediately consulted a medical professional and made the reservation."

Women receive new HPV vaccine against cervical cancer
Dong Jun / SHINE

A 45-year-old woman is the first to receive the vaccine after the age limit was extended.

There are three types of HPV vaccines – 2-, 4- and 9-valent, which are named after the number of viral strains they protect against.

In addition to vaccination, medical experts also reiterated the importance of regular screening.

"Vaccination is only part of the protective measures against cervical cancer. Even after receiving the vaccine, health checks are crucial for early detection of cancerous change and early-stage cervical cancer," said Dr Sui Long from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, which announced its cervical protection campaign, calling for a comprehensive fight against cervical cancer through prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, and promoting health education.

The hospital fulfills over 4,000 cervical cancer operations every year, the largest quantity in the city.

"Vaccination is the primary form of prevention. Regular screening is a secondary measure, and management of cervical cancer patients is the third-level of prevention," Sui said.

With the rising number of young cervical cancer patients, the hospital has been looking for therapy to treat cancer while preserving patient fertility. It also took the lead in carrying out surgery for cervical cancer patients, who are pregnant.

Between 2017 and 2022, a total of 1,240 cervical cancer patients received surgery while maintaining fertility. About 64 percent of the patients got pregnant, and only 0.08 percent of the patients had a relapse.

The five-year survival rate of pregnant cervical cancer patients is 86.3 percent and all babies have survived.

Women receive new HPV vaccine against cervical cancer
Ti Gong

A 27-year-old woman receives the 9-valent HPV vaccination at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, on Friday.

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