Posted tagged ‘cervical cancer’

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Are you protecting your kids?

January 31, 2013

The Pediatric Insider

© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD

January is cervical cancer awareness month—a time to remind people about this terrible disease, but also to highlight some huge advances in cervical cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. And it is preventable. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by a handful of types of HPV infection, most of which could be prevented by a combination of education about safe sex, and the use of a safe and effective vaccine.

HPV is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world, affecting about 40% of young adults. Most people who’ve picked up HPV don’t know they have it, but they continue to spread it to other people. Sometimes, HPV infection can cause genital warts or cancer, including cervical cancer and other cancers that affect men and women both.

Please protect your kids by talking about sex, setting appropriate expectations, and making sure they get this vaccine.

More info:

Media Scaremongering

HPV vaccines for men

An HPV vaccine win!

CDC’s comprehensive HPV info page—here are answers to just about any question you can think of about HPV diseases, screening, prevention, detection, and treatment.

An HPV vaccine win!

November 13, 2012

The Pediatric Insider

© 2012 Roy Benaroch, MD

A terrific study gauging the effectiveness of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) in Australia shows the power of a national program to fight disease. It works!

In April 2007, Australia started a national, government-funded program to provide HPV vaccine to all young women accessing health services.  After only four years, they found that among vaccinated women, the prevalence of vaccine-preventable HPV infection had dropped from about 30% to 7%. Even among unvaccinated women, the rate of infection dropped by about half. Vaccines help not only the vaccinated, but also the entire community (the opposite is also true—not vaccinating harms not only the child, but the community as well.)

Now that HPV vaccine is also recommended for boys and men, the impact will be even greater. Dramatically reducing HPV infections will lead to a tremendous drop in cancer. This is huge.

HPV vaccination is safe and effective, and is recommended starting at age 11 or 12 for boys and girls. Why wait? Protect your kids, protect us all. More information here.

HPV vaccine for men: A maybe becomes a yes

October 30, 2011

The Pediatric Insider

© 2011 Roy Benaroch, MD

I wrote last year about the pros and cons of vaccination against HPV, or human papilloma virus. At the time, I thought the evidence was clear that the vaccine was a very good idea for girls, but I was more lukewarm on whether the evidence was as supportive for boys.

Since last year, several good studies have been published that have provided additional support for this vaccine for teens of both genders. Here’s just a few:

  • An Australian study documenting the near-disappearance of genital warts in young men and women after vaccination became widespread (Similar results were found in New Zealand.)
  • A study of over 600,000 vaccine doses showed essentially no serious adverse events
  • Proof of the effectiveness of preventing HPV-associated cancers in men

(If you’d like to see the full, extensive range of publications about this vaccine or other topics, visit the US National Library of Medicine’s free PubMed search engine.)

After reviewing the new evidence, an advisory board to the CDC suggested that HPV vaccination now be recommended for all children at age 11-12. This replaces the 2009 recommendation that the vaccine be routinely given only to girls. It’s expected that this new recommendation, once endorsed formally by the CDC, will dramatically reduce the overall disease burden, including HPV-associated cancers totaling 18,000 a year in women and 7,000 a year in men. In addition, routinely vaccinating boys should help reduce overall disease transmission.

I’m happy to change my mind when new and better evidence appears. In this case, it’s good to know that as more studies are done, support for HPV vaccine’s safety and effectiveness has grown. It looks like this vaccine is a winner. Protect your kids, and make sure they get the vaccine instead of HPV.