I want to know why every time I hear about the HPV vaccine it is always related to cancer, just that: cancer. As if there is only one cancer; as if this vaccine is efficacious for all cancers.
Is "cervix" kind of like "scrotum" as in "word non grata?"
Can we not say "cervix" or "cervical" aloud, lest we start thinking of you know, Private Parts?
Okay maybe it's just a TV-censored word.
However, I think the delicate language and euphemisms can confuse people.
Let me be clear since newscasters are unable to be, and experts also seem unable to be.
* a DNA virus
* spread via contact
* the most likely transmission is via SEXUAL INTERCOURSE (sex)
* considered a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD)
* infects men and women
* has been around for a long, long time
* has over a hundred strains
* has not been proven to be the causal factor in CERVICAL cancer
* only two types have been related (which is an entirely different words than CAUSES) at all to CERVICAL cancer
* only two types have been related to GENITAL warts
* Peter Duesberg and Jody Schwartz (molecular biologists, University of California at Berkeley) state that it is carcinogens not a virus that causes the abnormal cell proliferation:
Among the various issues they raised about the acceptance of HPV as the cause of cervical cancer was their fundamental concern that there was a lack of consistent HPV DNA sequences and consistent HPV gene expression in tumors that were HPV-positive.
They instead suggested that "rare spontaneous or chemically induced chromosome abnormalities which are consistently observed in HPV DNA-negative and positive cervical cancers induce cervical cancer."
* The US National Cancer Institute concurs, saying that direct causation has not been proven. In a controlled study of age-matched women, 67% of those with cervical cancer and 43% of those without were found to be HPV-positive. These cancers are observed on average only 20-50 years after infection.
* affects 3.3 per 100,000 women in the Uunited States
* The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007, about 11,150 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.
* About 3,670 women will die from cervical cancer in the United States during 2007.
* Between 1955 and 1992, the number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States dropped by 74%. The main reason for this change is the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find early cancer in its most curable stage.
* Half of women diagnosed with this cancer are between the ages of 35 and 55.
* The 5-year relative survival rate for the earliest stage of invasive cervical cancer is 92%.
* HPV does not completely explain what causes cervical cancer. Most women with HPV don’t get cervical cancer, and certain other risk factors influence which women exposed to HPV are more likely to develop cervical cancer (such as smoking and immune deficiencies).
(Source: American Cancer Society)
The vaccine, Gardasil:
* is a three-shot series for $360, typically covered by medical insurance (assuming you have any) (it would come out of my pocket)
* protects against HPV types 6 and 11 (genital warts) and 16 and 18 (cervical cell changes)
* uses aluminum, which, due to adjuvants, can enter the brain, as well as cause inflammation at the injection site leading to chronic joint and muscle pain and fatigue:
Around 60 percent of those who got Gardasil or the aluminum placebo suffered side effects such as headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, myalgia and the Gardasil recipients had more serious adverse events such as headache, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, asthma, bronchospasm and arthritis.
* has potential competition from Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline) which targets types 16 and 18
(I think this is why you hear conflicting information about the vaccine targeting two or four types of HPV.)
The other vaccine, Cervarix:
* is effective 100% for 4.0 to 4.5 years.
* targets HPV types 16 and 18 (cervical cell changes)
Some important points to ponder:
* HPV types 16 and 18 are only related to about 70% of cervical cancers. Any vaccine you get will not prevent you from getting cancer. You might still get cancer, and it might be cervical cancer.
* The vaccines do not protect for a lifetime.
* Most people with healthy immune systems never exhibit any symptoms or problems from HPV.
* The vaccine should not replace regular health checkups and Pap tests
* The vaccine should not replace safe sex practices such as condoms. It doesn't prevent all STDs, or even all types of HPV. Also, keep in mind, HPV is a DNA-virus.
* News media employ hype and scare tactics to engage your attention. Don't just skim headlines or listen to soundbites, or rely on commericals for information. Dig deep.
In my last two blog posts about this, I linked to many sites. Go Google. Go learn. Nobody wants cancer. Nobody wants cervical cancer, but be aware of the facts, and the risks. Don't decide based on a sense of urgency and a sense of fear.
Some new things to read:
Study: More than 1 in 4 women has HPV (nice little chart breakdown of numbers)
Can Cervical Cancer Be Prevented? (American Cancer Society)
A Vaccine Every Woman Should Take (read the entire article...the headline is one of those hype deals to grab your attention)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) (eMedicine by WebMD)
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Tags: HPV and cervical cancer,HPV vaccine,Gardasil, Cervarix