Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 28, 2007

Cervical cancer vaccine

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:14 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: A vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and vulvar and vaginal pre-cancers in women, called Gardasil, was launched in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
It is the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a disease caused almost exclusively by a highly common sexually transmitted virus called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that includes over 100 different strains.
Gardasil, first launched in 2006 and approved in over 40 countries, was approved by the Drug Control Authority of Malaysia last October.
Gardasil offers protection against four strains – Types 16 and 18 that account for some 70% of cervical cancer cases and Types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts cases.
In Malaysia, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer after breast cancer.
“Gardasil is a major advancement in the prevention of cancer,” said Dr Suresh Kumarasamy, chairman of the Gynaecological Oncology Sub-committee of the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM), at the media launch.
“The vaccine has been shown to be effective in studies done on women between 16 and 26. The majority of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are between the ages of 40 and 50.
“We hope that the vaccine will protect the generation of females now. It will not make a major impact on those in their 50s because many are already infected.”
National Cancer Society of Malaysia executive director Dr Saunthari Somasundaram told The Star that cervical cancer is more prevalent among Malaysian women than most people realise.
“It is just something that women don’t talk about because it is intrinsic to femininity,” she said.
“Some 1,500 Malaysian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.
“Pap smear tests, which start at the cost of RM5 or RM10 from government clinics to below RM100 in private hospitals, are readily available. Yet most women just don’t take it.”
NCSM is offering the vaccine at a subsidised price of RM999 at its Women’s Cancer Detection & Breast Clinic.
For more information call 03-2698 7351.

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