Most Americans don’t know HPV vaccine prevents cancer

© Wikipedia Commons, 2013
© Wikipedia Commons, 2013

The blogosphere has been chatting a lot lately about Gardasil (formally known as the HPV quadrivalent vaccine and also called Silgard in Europe), mainly because of  Katie Couric, a fairly popular USA-based journalist with her own eponymous TV talk show, Katie, who did a falsely balanced anti-Gardasil episode that completely ignored real science.  

The vast majority of Americans haven’t been vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus) and are unsure about the shots’ effectiveness in preventing cancers, according to a presentation to the American Association for Cancer Research based on data culled from a survey of 1700 individuals in the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The CDC states that HPV is directly responsible for cervical canceranal cancervulvar cancervaginal canceroropharyngeal cancer and penile cancer. These are all deadly, disfiguring, and potentially preventable cancers through the use of HPV vaccines. 

Worse yet, according to lead researcher, Kassandra Alcaraz, director of health disparities research at the American Cancer Society, the new study found that just one in three U.S. girls and less than 5% of U.S. boys has received the full recommended course of three shots of the HPV quadrivalent vaccine. Part of the reason for the low vaccine uptake rate was that the survey found that around 70% of Americans were unsure of the vaccine’s role in preventing cancers in both men and women. Continue reading “Most Americans don’t know HPV vaccine prevents cancer”