Thursday, June 16, 2005

A preventable cancer!

HPV imageIn exciting medical news, Merck researchers have just announced a new vaccine against the Human Papillomavirus, a virus which causes problems ranging from genital warts to cervical cancer.
Gardasil protects against four HPV strains that cause cervical cancer, cervical pre-cancers, abnormal Pap tests and genital warts, Merck's testing indicates.

In clinical tests so far, the vaccine has shown to be 100 percent effective against four types of HPV. Two of the types - called types 18 and 16 - cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. And types 11 and 6 cause up to 90 percent of all genital warts and have been linked to abnormal Pap smears, which alarm both patients and doctors and lead to unnecessary tests.
HPV infection is very widespread, and often asymptomatic, so this would probably be a recommended vaccine for all boys and girls of about junior high age (or a bit earlier). I hope that the parental prude factor doesn't override the desire to prevent needless infertility and cancer deaths.

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