Why can’t we get a cancer vaccine as fast as one for COVID-19?

cancer vaccine

I keep reading memes and other nonsense that if scientists are so smart why can’t we have a cancer vaccine as fast as we did for COVID-19? It’s not a serious question, it’s actually pejorative – it’s meant to imply that we’ve been looking for years for a cancer vaccine without success, yet we were able to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a few months, so obviously it was rushed.

Fortunately for us on the side of science, this is one of the silliest and most desperate myths being pushed by our favorite anti-vaxxers.

Busting cancer myths is one of my favorite activities – my non-statistical analysis of medical pseudoscience puts cancer slightly above vaccines on the stupidity of the tropes. Combining vaccine nonsense with cancer is right up my bailiwick. Let’s have some tearing apart this trope.

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Annoying cancer myths – more zombie memes that can’t be stopped

Anyone who follows the cantankerous feathered dinosaur knows that we tend to focus on vaccines, where the anti-vaccine religion focuses on tropes, pseudoscience, misinformation, and outright lies. Cancer myths seem to steal from the anti-vaccine playbook by pushing similar tropes, pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies.

I keep responding to these cancer myths all across the internet, so I thought that it might be useful to list out my favorite ones. No, it would take 50,000 words to debunk all of these cancer myths. For example, the Burzynski Clinic quackery is best handled by a real cancer specialist, David Gorski, MD, who has written well over 100 articles critiquing the Burzynski pseudoscience. So I’m going to stick with my personal favorites.

So, let’s take a look at these cancer myths, and I’ll do my best to debunk them.

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43,000 HPV-associated cancers annually – HPV vaccine can prevent most

HPV-associated cancers

As I’ve written before, there are just a handful of ways to reduce your risk of cancer. One of which is to prevent HPV-associated cancers with the HPV vaccine (see Note 1).

Too many people who discuss the HPV vaccine, especially among the anti-vaccine religion, tend to focus on HPV-related cervical cancer. But HPV is linked to several dangerous and deadly cancers, and a new report examines the details of those cancers. 

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HPV vaccine efficacy in reducing HPV infections – Australia experience

HPV vaccine efficacy

In the nearly 200 articles I have written about the HPV vaccine, I spend as many words discussing HPV vaccine efficacy as I do about adverse events (which are extremely rare, despite the pseudoscientific claims of the anti-vaccine world). I keep reading comments and claims from the anti-vaccine religion that there is no “proof” that the HPV vaccine prevents infections and certainly no “proof” that it prevents cancer.

Well, a new article has been published that that describes how far HPV infection rates have dropped in Australia nine years after the implementation of HPV vaccination. Spoiler alert – the infection rate went way down, even though vaccine coverage is far from 100%.

Let’s take a look at this article, which provides us with more evidence in supporting the use of the HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine efficacy is corroborated by this new data.

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Does marijuana cure cancer? There is no robust scientific evidence

marijuana cure cancer

Subjectively, one of the wilder claims one can find on social media is that marijuana can cure cancer. Or cannabis prevents cancer. It doesn’t matter what form – smoked, eaten, hemp oil (which is manufactured from the seeds of cannabis plants that don’t contain much THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active hallucinogenic agent of cannabis) – some advocates for cannabis will try to make the argument that it is some miracle drug for cancer.

But is it? Yes, there are systematic reviews that indicate that cannabis may be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy. But research has generated negative results in some well-done clinical trials and some positive results in others. But that has nothing to do with actually curing or preventing cancer itself, just dealing with the effects of the treatment.

So what has real clinical and scientific research said about whether marijuana can cure cancer? Well, not to give away the conclusion, but not very much. Let’s take a look.

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Gardasil vaccine effectiveness – prevents HPV and reduces cancer risk

Gardasil vaccine effectiveness

I have written nearly 200 articles on the HPV vaccine, many on Gardasil vaccine effectiveness, one of the most important issues about this important cancer-preventing vaccine. But that’s so much data, so I wanted to publish one article that reviewed the largest and best peer-reviewed articles that support the claims of Gardasil vaccine effectiveness.

My goal is to make this article your “go-to” source for the best and clearest evidence that the HPV vaccine not only prevents HPV infections but it also significantly decreases cancer risks.

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Japan banned Gardasil? No, but the anti-vaccine crowd pushes the myth

Japan Banned Gardasil

One of the most popular zombie memes and tropes of the anti-vaccine movement is that Japan banned Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. And like most of those zombie memes and tropes, the facts are a lot different than the anti-vaccine claims. Per usual.

Although I don’t quite understand the reasoning, the anti-vaccine religion absolutely hates Gardasil, possibly more than any other vaccine. These zealots maintain that the HPV vaccines cause all kinds of harm to teens and young adults. Yet, there are literally mountains of data derived from numerous huge epidemiological studies that the Gardasil cancer-preventing vaccine is one of the safest vaccines on the market.

So if you really want to prevent cancer, one of the best ways available to you is getting the HPV vaccine. The idea is so simple, yet is clouded by the myths about HPV vaccines – one of the most popular, of course, is that Japan banned Gardasil. Let’s examine this fable with a critical and skeptical eye.

Spoiler alert – Japan did no such thing.

Continue reading “Japan banned Gardasil? No, but the anti-vaccine crowd pushes the myth”

Cervical cancer rates down 88% in decade since HPV vaccine launched

cervical cancer rates

I know that COVID-19 vaccines are our focus these days, but there is great news about cervical cancer rates in the UK in the decade since the HPV vaccine was first launched in 2008. Cervical pre-cancer incidence is down 88% since the UK’s devolved governments launched a school immunization program in 2008 to vaccinate all girls aged 12-13. They also launched a three-year catch-up program for girls aged 14-18.

These results are amazing and provide further evidence of the effectiveness of this vaccine in reducing cervical cancer rates.

mAs I always do, I will inform readers about HPV and HPV vaccines, then review the article that provides us with these results.

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Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage? New paper gets it wrong

Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage

It may appear that scientific skeptics are always criticizing any newly published scientific article that doesn’t fit some imaginary point of view. Personally, I evaluate and critique a lot of “scientific” articles that make the rounds on the pseudoscience websites, such as the recent “canola oil causes Alzheimer’s disease” nonsense. Now, a new article has been published that claims that non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage in a respected journal.

Of course, based on this one article, many news organization and legitimate websites have jumped all over it – “Miscarriage rates triple for women with top radiation exposures” is a typical headline. When I see a new science article get that much play in the press, my skeptical radar goes on full sensitivity mode. I just know there’s something wrong with the original science.

On the other hand, maybe the new science article is of high quality and may be indicating to us that there’s an issue. Let’s take a look at whether non-ionizing radiation causes marriage – or not. Continue reading “Non-ionizing radiation causes miscarriage? New paper gets it wrong”

HPV vaccine reduces the risk of cervical cancer – another powerful study

cervical cancer

The nearly indisputable evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine is now supported by powerful evidence that the risk of cervical cancer is greatly reduced by the vaccine. We knew that the vaccine prevented many of the HPV types that were linked to cervical cancer, but it took time for us to observe a concomitant decrease in cases of cervical cancer.

Now, we have that evidence.

Let’s take a look at that study, which I know our favorite anti-vaxxers will dismiss, but maybe it will convince one parent to protect their children from future cases of cervical cancer. Continue reading “HPV vaccine reduces the risk of cervical cancer – another powerful study”