Healthspan Blog

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Cervical Cancer Breakthrough

5th July 2006

The FDA recently approved a vaccine for an STD known to contribute, if not cause, more than 90% of all cervical cancer cases.  This may be one of the greatest cancer breakthroughs of this decade.  Almost 10,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with the second deadliest cancer in the US this year alone.  The fatality rate is a whopping 25%.  The typical cervical cancer patient is between 35 and 55. 

In the 1970s, doctors began to realize that early detection could be key in treating many cancers, including those of the cervix.  Women were then urged to receive a Pap smear annually.  This is still standard practice in the US.  The fatality rate from cervical cancer was close to 50% in the ’70s, but early detection lowered it by nearly 25%. 

Human papillomavirus, an STD that nearly half of all US women test positive for, is usually not harmful.  There are over 30 strains of HPV that are transmitted through sexual contact and only a few cause any symptoms or effect the sufferer in any way.  Of these, two are known to cause genital warts and two others are strongly associated with cervical cancer. 

It is the four strains that cause warts and cancer that the new vaccine targets.  Sold under the brand name Gardasil, the success rates of this immunization is 100%, according to the FDA.  For this reason, they have recommended it be used on girls and women ages 9 to 26. 

As with all other inoculations, there is some controversy surrounding Gardasil.  Opponents claim that a shot that prevents one or two STDs will be a ticket for many young women to participate in unprotected sex.  It is also believed that some vaccinations in the US cause autism, though all autism cases associated with vaccines have been found in infants and teens. 

Though I am barely outside of the recommended inoculation age group, I think it is wonderful there has been such a great advancement in cervical cancer prevention and will get the series of shots if my doctor recommends it.  While I hope the scientists continue to research and develop treatments to cure this deadly disease, I am very excited that fewer women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer next year and the years to come.

Written by Mary Smith

One Response to “Cervical Cancer Breakthrough”

  1. vivohealth Says:

    I have been looking into some new research completed by Newcastle University in Australia that was published on cervical and breast cancer earlier this year. If you know someone who is affected by breast cancer or yourself you might like to read some of the details on MC-S Cancer Research. Hope that is helpful for someone. Thank you, Dr Jeff Aitkin