As I wrote a few weeks ago, there are limited ways to prevent cancers. There are no magical panaceas that prevent any of the 250 or so cancers. There are no magical supplements or pills. Smoking weed is not going to help. But the new Gardasil cancer prevention is one of the ways.
There are just a few methods to actually prevent cancers – stop smoking, stay out of the sun, lose weight, avoid radiation, and get the HPV vaccine. Yes, one of the handful of ways to prevent cancer, debilitating and dangerous ones, is to get the HPV vaccine.
HPV and cancer
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the USA. There are more than 40 HPV sub-types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. Additionally, some HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
HPV is linked to cancers in men and women, and because there are so many subtypes, research has established which HPV types are linked to certain cancers.
- Cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers can be caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
- Genital warts are caused by HPV types 6 and 11. Although genital warts are generally benign (though unsightly), there is a small chance they develop into cancers.
- Various precancerous lesions of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus can be caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58
- Oropharyngeal and penile cancers are caused by subtypes 16 and 18.
HPV is believed to cause nearly 5% of all new cancers across the world, making it almost as dangerous as tobacco as a cancer risk. According to the CDC, roughly 79 million Americans are infected with HPV–approximately 14 million Americans contract HPV every year. Most individuals don’t even know they have the infection until the onset of cancer. About 27,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed in the USA every year.
The original HPV quadrivalent vaccine, known as Gardasil (or Silgard in Europe), can prevent infection by human papillomavirus, substantially reducing the risk of these types of cancers. An HPV bivalent vaccine, known as Cervarix, is used in some countries, but only provides protection again two of the subtypes most associated with cervical cancer.
The new version of the Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine, recently cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, protects teens and young adults from 9 subtypes of HPV, helping prevent more cancers. It should really be called the Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine.
According to the package insert, Gardasil 9 is indicated in females aged 9-26 years for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; genital warts caused by types 6 and 11; and various precancerous or dysplastic lesions of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus caused by types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. The vaccine is also indicated in males aged nine through 15 years for the prevention of anal cancer caused by types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; genital warts caused by types 6 and 11; and anal intraepithelial neoplasia grades 1, 2, and 3 caused by types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
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The FDA approval is based on data from a randomized, controlled study (to be published soon) in the U.S. involving approximately 14000 females aged 16 to 26, all testing negative for HPV at the start of the study.
The study found that the new vaccine was approximately 97% effective in preventing infection from the additional five HPV types, while still equally effective to the current Gardasil in preventing the original four types, based on participants’ antibody responses. An additional 1200 males and 2800 females, aged 9 to 15, showed similar antibody responses as the older participants in the trials–researchers concluded that the new Gardasil vaccine should provide similar effectiveness as the older one to the original 4 HPV subtypes.
Safety data on the new 9-valent Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine is based on adverse reactions tracked in more than 13,000 males and females. Headaches and swelling, redness and pain at the injection site were the ones most commonly reported. Among these participants, five individuals reported serious adverse events that were determined to be vaccine-related. These events included fever, allergy to the vaccine, asthmatic crisis, headache and tonsillitis. These adverse events are common to vaccinations, especially if an individual is allergic to one or more of the ingredients.
Without a doubt, Gardasil 9 is one of the safest vaccines on the market.
Currently in the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that preteen girls and boys aged 11 or 12 are vaccinated against HPV. The immunization is also recommended for teenage girls and young women up to the age of 26 who did not receive it when they were younger, and teenage boys and young men up to the age of 21.
On 27 March 2015, the ACIP made new recommendations for the HPV vaccine to include the new 9-valent version of the Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine:
ACIP recommends that routine HPV vaccination be initiated at age 11 or 12 years. The vaccination series can be started beginning at age 9 years. Vaccination is also recommended for females aged 13 through 26 years and for males aged 13 through 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the 3-dose series. Males aged 22 through 26 years may be vaccinated.† Vaccination of females is recommended with 2vHPV, 4vHPV (as long as this formulation is available), or 9vHPV. Vaccination of males is recommended with 4vHPV (as long as this formulation is available) or 9vHPV.
2vHPV, 4vHPV, and 9vHPV all protect against HPV 16 and 18, types that cause about 66% of cervical cancers and the majority of other HPV-attributable cancers in the United States. 9vHPV targets five additional cancer causing types, which account for about 15% of cervical cancers (12). 4vHPV and 9vHPV also protect against HPV 6 and 11, types that cause anogenital warts.[/infobox]
In other words, the ACIP recommends any of the three versions of the HPV vaccine (2-, 4- and 9-valent) for young men and women. ACIP also clearly states, based on real scientific evidence, that the Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine can block the HPV types that cause about 66% of cervical cancers, and other HPV types that cause about 15% of cervical cancers.
The Gardasil cancer prevention vaccine is about saving lives from cancer. How could that be denied to any young teen or adult?
Let’s make this easy–the Gardasil prevention vaccine stops at least six types of cancer, and that’s better than all the “natural” supplements that you could consume. Let me repeat myself–Gardasil Prevents Cancer.
- Petrosky E, Bocchini JA Jr, Hariri S, Chesson H, Curtis CR, Saraiya M, Unger ER, Markowitz LE. Use of 9-Valent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: Updated HPV Vaccination Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Mar 27;64(11):300-304. PubMed PMID: 25811679.