Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Providing new hope in the fight against cervical cancer is a new cervical cancer vaccine known as Gardasil. This vaccine for cervical cancer, also referred to as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, is an important step in cervical cancer prevention. But how exactly does the cervical cancer vaccine work and how effective is it in the prevention of cervical cancer?
What is Gardasil?
Gardasil is a cervical cancer vaccine that targets the four most deadly strands of HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. The four strains of HPV that Gardasil targets is HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16 and HPV-18.
HPV-16 and HPV-18 account for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer, while HPV-6 and HPV-11 account for 90% of all genital warts.
Approved in spring of 2006, Gardasil is most effective when administered to a woman prior to her becoming sexually active. This is because HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse.
The vaccine lasts a minimum of four years; however, the long-term effectiveness of the cervical cancer vaccine is unknown.
The Pros of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine
It is believed that Gardasil will be able to prevent up to 70% of all cervical cancer cases.
In the United States, clinical trials of the cervical cancer vaccine found it to be effective in 100% of cases. In these trials, all of the almost 2400 women who participated in the study (all of whom were between the ages of 16 and 23) showed a decreased incidence of HPV. Gardasil also protects against genital warts.
Such promising results are an important advancement in the fight against cancer. Cervical cancer deaths are expected to quadruple in number to reach1 million new cases per year by 2050 in developing nations.
The Cons of the Cervical Cancer Vaccine
While Gardasil is a major breakthrough in hpv cervical cancer prevention, it does not protect women against new HPV viruses that can result in cervical cancer.
Some individuals feel that the gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer will be viewed by teenaged girls as a license to engage in sexual activity at a premature age.
What Does Gardasil Mean for Cervical Cancer Screening?
The vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancer causes. Regular screening for cervical cancer symptoms through a routine Pap smear test is still a crucial step in the prevention of cervical cancer.
The series of the three shots required by the vaccine costs between $300 and $500.