HPV Vision

HPV VISION

HIGH-RISK HPV STRAINS

While there are more than 100 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), there are high-risk strains that can cause serious diseases in both men and women1.

CERVICAL CANCER

HPV causes approximately 100% of all cervical cancer cases worldwide3. In 2021, cervical cancer ranked as the fourth most frequent cancer among women in Malaysia and the second most frequent cancer amongst women aged 15-4416.

But cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. The HPV vaccine helps protect women and girls against some high-risk HPV types that are most likely to cause cervical cancer18 and other HPV-related cancers and diseases.

To alleviate the cost of medical treatment and to encourage more Malaysians to be vaccinated, Malaysia’s Budget 2021 has provided a tax relief of up to RM1,000 for medical treatment expenses which includes the HPV vaccination for individuals, their spouse and their children31.

WHO GLOBAL ELIMINATION STRATEGY

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 201836. In 2020, the WHO launched a strategy to end cervical cancer as a public health problem36. All 194 member countries (Malaysia included) of the WHO are in support of the strategy, which sets out to achieve the following goals by the year 203036:

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90%

of girls fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by age 1536

Certain types of HPV, known as high-risk strains, are strongly linked to cancers including anal cancer4. The high-risk subtype most likely to cause anal cancer is HPV 16. Another high-risk type is HPV 18, but this is seen less often with anal cancer4. Anal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissue of the anus. HPV is linked to approximately 91% of all anal cancer cases3

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70%

of women screened for cervical cancer with a high-performance test (equivalent or better than HPV test) by age 35, and again by age 4536

Certain types of HPV, known as high-risk strains, are strongly linked to cancers including anal cancer4. The high-risk subtype most likely to cause anal cancer is HPV 16. Another high-risk type is HPV 18, but this is seen less often with anal cancer4. Anal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissue of the anus. HPV is linked to approximately 91% of all anal cancer cases3.

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90%

of women with cervical cancer or pre-cancer get treatment36

Certain types of HPV, known as high-risk strains, are strongly linked to cancers including anal cancer4. The high-risk subtype most likely to cause anal cancer is HPV 16. Another high-risk type is HPV 18, but this is seen less often with anal cancer4. Anal cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissue of the anus. HPV is linked to approximately 91% of all anal cancer cases3.

Both men and women can get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only helps to protect yourself, but your loved ones from serious HPV-related diseases like cervical cancer and other less common HPV cancers like cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva2. For women, regular screening alongside vaccination can help prevent HPV-related cancers and diseases2.

With this strategy in place, the WHO hopes to eliminate cervical cancer to 4 per 100,000 by 203037. Let’s do our part to help achieve this goal in Malaysia.

MALAYSIA’S EFFORTS TO REDUCE HPV-RELATED CANCERS

As part of Malaysia’s cancer prevention strategy, the Malaysian government has introduced several programmes to prevent HPV infections and cancers.

Various vaccines have been included in the National Immunization Programme (NIP) and have since, kept diseases and viruses at bay. In 2010, the Ministry of Health introduced the HPV vaccine in Malaysia’s NIP by providing the vaccine to 13-year-old girls. A “Catch up” HPV vaccination programme for women over 18 years of age was then introduced in 2012 where women of certain age groups could get the vaccine for free at the National Population and Family Board (LPPKN) clinics38. As an Asian pioneer in school-based HPV vaccination programme, Malaysia has reached an impressive Vaccine Coverage Rate (VCR) rate of more than 80%39.

In Malaysia, the top three most prevalent high-risk HPV types detected among women are: HPV 16 (18.6%), HPV 52 (14%) and HPV 58 (12.8%)8. Separately, HPV 52 and 58 contribute to approximately 10.7% and 8.9% of cervical cancer cases in Malaysia respectively in 202116. Without sufficient HPV vaccination coverage, women face a definite higher chance of developing cervical, vulva, vaginal and anal cancer, genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions40.
Apart from vaccination, the National Pap Smear Screening Programme was introduced in 199841 to encourage early detection and treatment of cervical cancer. The Ministry of Health Malaysia recommends Pap smear screening for all women between the ages of 20 and 65 years old who are, or who have been, sexually active. If two consecutive yearly tests are negative, subsequent screening can be done every three years42.
In 2019, Program ROSE Program ROSE (Remove Obstacles to Servical Screening) was launched to help Malaysian women self-screen for cervical cancer using a self-swab which can be done in the comforts of home43. Samples are then submitted to the lab for testing and the results are delivered straight to the individual’s mobile phone43.

Recently, DNA testing for high-risk types of HPV has gained widespread acceptance 44. This test can be done with a Pap smear or by itself.

Ten years on since the inclusion of the HPV vaccine in the NIP, the government of Malaysia announced at a press conference following the parliament seating in August 2020 that it hopes to achieve full adoption of HPV testing by 202345 as part of its continued efforts to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the country.

So, speak to your doctor about HPV vaccination and screening if you are a woman to help protect yourself and your loved ones from high-risk HPV strains. Together, let’s help prevent HPV and HPV-related diseases such as cervical cancer. Let’s work together in this fight to help bring down cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancer incidences in the country so that they become one less public health concern.

You can protect yourself

Getting infected with HPV is more common than you might think1. The good news is you can protect yourself through vaccination and regular cervical screening for women.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

It can be hard to know what to say. Here are some helpful questions you can take to your next appointment.

Make an appointment

Find a clinic closest to you and set up an appointment to speak with your doctor about vaccination and screening for women.

MY-GSL-00388 Mar/2022