Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vaccine for Cervical Cancer

Earlier this summer the FDA approved the first vaccine for the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is one of the major causes of certain cervical cancers. Cervical cancer hits 10,000 American women every year, killing more than 3,700.

The vaccine, called Gardasil and developed by Merck & Co., was approved for girls and women ages 9 [through] 26. It is most useful if given to younger girls, because the vaccine is ineffective once the virus -- which is very common among sexually active people -- is already present.
Some conservative social organizations have expressed concern that the vaccine could encourage young girls and women to engage in more sexual activity. As a result, there is a concern that unintended pregnancies or other sexually transmitted diseases could rise.

Life is full of tradeoffs!


Paige Burton said...

I have read about the new vaccination for HPV on the internet and in the newspaper, and have heard about it from my doctor. I found it very interesting that even though HPV is one of the major causes of certain cervical cancers, a lot of women have never heard of the disease. I think I remember from an article I read that some 60% of women have the disease and are not even aware that they have it, or that it even exists. I know word travels fast, but I think Merck, along with doctors and gynecologists should inform patients or have more patients tested for HPV. I think the drug will be very successful once word gets out about HPV. Yes, there are tradeoffs in life, but if it comes down to a life or death situation like cancer, I think teenagers will be more cautious about their decisions!

SammiMc said...

I am actually doing a persuasive essay on the HPV vaccinations for Comm. I am very supportive of anything that has a 100% chance of preventing 70% of types of cervical cancer and 100% types of genital warts. Naturally, many weigh the costs of the vaccine, such as possible increased sexual activity in young girls. But, let's be realistic. If young people want to have sex, they will, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not. In the long run, we must remember that the many pros of Gardasil far outweigh the cons. Maybe even one day, it will lead to vaccines against other cancers.