What are the Cancer Vaccines?

For most people, getting cancer or any type of cancer seems like a hopeless dead-end, but there are treatment options that will allow you to protect yourself and your loved ones from some forms of cancer especially if your family has a history of the illness.

Let’s get to know the cancer vaccines that prevent cancer and those that help treat it.

Vaccines were made to help the immune system cope with infectious agents or invaders that cause deadly diseases. Ever since the first vaccines were made, there have been fewer casualties of diseases that used to decimate populations worldwide if there is an outbreak. Fortunately, there are also vaccines called biological response modifiers that will help fight off infections that could cause cancer.

Preventive Vaccines
Also called prophylactic vaccines, these type of cancer vaccines will help reduce the likelihood of getting cancer among people who are at risk. So, how does it work? Like most types of vaccines, the preventive vaccines will target foreign agents that will most likely contribute to cancer, and is based on the antigens that are carried by these infections. These will serve as reminders to the immune system to attack these specific antigens if the person is infected.

There are two types of preventive vaccines available against cancer, such as the HPV vaccines and HBV vaccines.

• Human Papillomavirus Vaccines. There are three types of vaccines that will work against high-risk HPV strains that could lead to cervical cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, anal cancer, penile cancers, vulvar cancer, and vaginal cancer. Talk to your doctor in Singapore about the options available for a specific age group and gender. This is usually recommended among high-risk individuals and those who have had persistent infections.

• Hepatitis B Virus Vaccines. Although hepatitis B can be treated successfully, chronic infection can potentially lead to liver cancer in some people. So far, there are two types of vaccines for HBV prevention that can be used by both sexes regardless of age. Other types of hepatitis vaccines also provide protection against other viruses like poliovirus.

Treatment Vaccines
Also known as therapeutic vaccines, treatment vaccines will help those already with the illness to fight off the disease by strengthening the immune system. It is part of the cancer treatment called immunotherapy.

So, how do these vaccines work even if the patient already has cancer? The vaccine will help the immune system by activating the cytotoxic T cells to recognize and get rid of cancer. This can be done by introducing a few antigens that will cause that activation or the production of more antibodies against the specific infections. However, this does not guarantee that the patient will be cancer-free, because the vaccines must activate specific immune responses and the immune system must be up to the task of destroying the cancer cells.

• Sipuleucel-T. So far, there is only one type of cancer treatment vaccine available, although there are other vaccines which are undergoing clinical trials. This vaccine is recommended for advanced stages of prostate cancer that can no longer be treated with hormonal therapy.

Written by Editor