Japan HPV infection risk can be reduced with Gardasil

As I’ve written previously, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare  had suspended recommending the cancer preventing HPV vaccine as a result of the worst statistical analysis ever. Of course, Japanese lawyers, looking for a quick yen, has sued the manufacturers of the HPV vaccine, despite the utter lack of evidence. Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that the Japan HPV infection risk can be reduced after the reinstitution of the recommending Gardasil for young girls in the country.

Summary

 

In June 2013, the Japanese health ministry decided to withdraw it’s recommendation for the cancer preventing HPV vaccine because they noticed 176 adverse events. However, the health ministry admits that there probably isn’t a causal relationship between the vaccine and the events. Despite some claims on the internet, the health ministry did not ban the vaccine – anyone who wants the HPV vaccine in Japan may receive it.

A recent paper, published in Lancet Oncology, provided a risk calculation based on the the vaccination rates for female Japanese born between 1993 and 2008, which represents the group that would have had access to the vaccine. The researcher’s findings suggest that infection risk may be reduced if vaccination encouragement is resumed, and that the vaccine be target to include the groups that failed to get vaccines during the time that the vaccine was not recommended.

HPV vaccine

 

I know, I’ve written about this vaccine 100 times. So bear with me if you’ve read it. Or plough through if you don’t know about HPV and the vaccine.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the USA. There are more than 150 strains or subtypes of HPV sub-types that can infect humans. About 40 of these strains are linked to a variety of cancers.

Additionally, some HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. HPV is generally transmitted from personal contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Gardasil-9, the current version of the HPV cancer vaccine, protects teens and young adults from 9 subtypes of cancer-causing HPV, which leads to lower risks of more types of cancer.

Although the early symptoms of HPV infections aren’t serious, those infections are closely linked to many types of cancers in men and women. According to current medical research, here are some of the cancers that are linked to HPV:

These are all dangerous and disfiguring cancers that can be mostly prevented by the HPV cancer vaccine. If you’re a male, and you think that these are mostly female cancers, penile cancer can lead to amputation of your penis. Just think about that guys.

HPV is believed to cause nearly 5% of all new cancers across the world, making it almost as dangerous as tobacco with respect to cancer. 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.

Let me make this simple. There are only a handful of ways to actually prevent cancer, and drinking a blueberry-kale-protein shake is not one of them. But Gardasil is.



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Japan HPV infection risk study

 

In Japan, HPV vaccinations became available to girls aged 13-16 years with public aid from 2010. By April 2013, the vaccine became routine for those aged 12-16 years. However, after biased news media reports of adverse events after receiving the vaccine, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare suspended its recommendation (but again, it did not ban its availability) of the HPV vaccination.

The news reports plus the Ministry of health’s non-recommendation led to large differences in vaccination rates among different birth year groups. A research team calculated the HPV16/18 infection risk for Japanese females born between 1993 and 2008. Unfortunately, these powerful results show that risk of HPV16/18, which can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers, infection rises significantly with each year that the HPV vaccine recommendation is suspended.

Based on current data, the researchers made the following assumptions:

  1. HPV infection risk correlates closely to the rate of sexual intercourse in females who did not receive the HPV vaccine.
  2. During the HPV vaccine recommendation period (up to June 2013), girls and young women were vaccinated at the youngest recommended age, 12 years old.
  3. By 2010, the HPV vaccination rate exceeded 70%, much higher than we see in the USA today.
  4. After the suspension of recommendation in 2013, the vaccination rate among 12 and 13 year olds fell to 1% and 4%, respectively.

Using these statistics and assumption, the researchers showed that risk of HPV16/18 infection rises significantly with each year that vaccination encouragement is suspended. And let me one again remind the reader that human papillomavirus is causally linked to several dangerous and disfiguring cancers. This isn’t subject to some fake debate.

This study should provide the Japanese health ministry with important evidence to resume recommending Gardasil to protect its teens from cancer. This study also shows that it also encourage cancer preventing HPV vaccinations to those young women who didn’t receive the vaccine during the “non-recommendation” period (which has not technically ended).

The HPV vaccine prevents cancer. Since there remains little to no evidence that the vaccine causes any harm, and we have bountiful evidence that it prevents cancer, why is Japan still not recommending the vaccine? We all know why.

Key citations

 

 

 

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!

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