HPV vaccine prevents what killer cancer ? Does it really work ? These questions are catching on in news and social media for all the right reasons. 


We all know at least one friend or relative who is battling with cancer. The day we discover this harrowing news we get the biggest shock of life. Bottom line here is cancer is not a rare disease anymore. Also the age group of cancer is inclining towards younger side. 

Thus taking utmost precaution is the key. Many will advocate to take proper diet, exercise and avoid chemicals. Some will advise to go through frequent health check ups to diagnose cancer early. But what most people don’t know is that there are some vaccines, that can prevent certain cancers too. HPV vaccine is one such example. 

What does HPV stand for ?

HPV stands for human papilloma virus. This is a virus that transmits through sexual contact from one person to another.

Almost all sexually active individuals acquire this infection atleast once in his/her lifetime by the time s/he turns 50. In most cases body defence mechanism is strong enough to combat it.


But in some cases where immunity of an individual fails to fight against HPV infection, it persists. 

HPV infection can cause which diseases?

HPV can incur benign leison ( non cancerous) or malignant leison ( cancerous). Benign leisons are in form of warts, which are growth on skin and mucous membrane. Malignant leisons are in the form of cancer.

There are more than 100 serotype of HPV searched out already. Out of which 13 serotypes are known to provoke cancer. Serotype 16 and 18 are identified as most common serotypes associated with cancer. Whereas serotype 6 and 11 are notorious for warts.

HPV can cause which cancer ?

The most prevalent cancer for which HPV is charged, is carcinoma cervix or cervical cancer in women. This is a cancer which affects cervix. Cervix is the lower most part of uterus, situated just above vagina.

Other than cervical cancer, HPV induces cancer in vulva, vagina in women. Surprisingly it can cause cancers in men too. Some examples of which are oral cancer, penile cancer etc

HPV vaccine prevents what killer cancer ?

Out of all these HPV related cancers, the deadliest cancer which causes many untimely loss of life world wide is cancer cervix.

Among all cancers known as yet in human, carcinoma cervix is the 5th leading cancer world wide. When we talk about incidence in women, it is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. In developing countries like India, cervical cancer is the first and foremost cause of cancer in women.

Though prime target for HPV is cervical cancer in women. It prevent other cancers in women like vulval and vaginal cancer. Besides it shields against oral, anal and penile cancer in men. Hence these days HPV vaccine is recommend in males as well.



How does HPV vaccine prevent cancer?

HPV virus at times stay persistent inside human, when immunity is poor. It then integrates its DNA into cell. This cell then undergo changes ( dysplastic changes).

HPV infection may remain in latent phase for upto 10 years before becoming cancer. Thereupon affected cells proliferate uncontrollably. In that event a person may be infected with HPV in 20s or 30s and manifest cancer in later years. 


HPV vaccine provides a person with immunity against specific cancer causing serotype of HPV and averts its integration into host DNA. Consequently it prevents cancer.


But if a person is already infected with HPV then the vaccine can not reverse the process. Thus it is prudent to take HPV at earliest permissible age.

Who is the ideal candidate to receive HPV ?

HPV vaccine is recommend for females between 9-26 years of age. It can be given upto 45 years of age.

If you have a daughter between 9 – 14 years of age then, it is probably the golden time to get her vaccinated for HPV. This is so because at this age immunity production is highest.

This is the reason why HPV vaccine if given before 15th birthday, only 2 doses are enough. But if given on or after 15th birthday then 3 doses of vaccine will be needed.


Now a days HPV vaccine is endorsed for men too. The age at which this can be given is between 9 – 14 year of age, for maximum protection against penile, anal and oral cancer caused by HPV.

What are side effects of HPV vaccine?

Side effects viz giddiness and fainting can be there in some individuals ( common in adolescents ) following vaccine shot . It is just a transient phenomenon. Hence the person should stay in reclined or lie down position for 15-20 min after vaccine is given. 

Who should not be given HPV vaccine ?


There are always so many queries when it comes to vaccines. Parents are hesitant initially for vaccination because of lack of information. I hope this blog post is a guide for parents regarding HPV vaccine.


consult your primary physician before taking any decision for HPV vaccination.

All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *