Who’s the Pro-Cervical Cancer Lobby anyway?

I mean, I know who they are — the ones who don’t like the idea of adolescent sexual activity so much they’d rather not make available a tool for preventing many cases of cervical cancer.

New research out on the HPV vaccine shows that it is effective not only in long term cancer prevention but for short term benefits as well.  This from an LA Times piece:

Years before the HPV vaccine prevents women from getting cervical cancer, it protects them against genital warts and cervical dysplasia, new research suggests.

A study of more than 26,000 teen girls in Ontario, Canada, finds that those who received all three doses of Gardasil were 44% less likely than their unvaccinated peers to be diagnosed with cervical dysplasia during their high school years. It also appears that the vaccine reduced the risk of genital warts by 43%, researchers reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Gardasil is billed as a vaccine against cervical cancer, a disease that typically strikes women in their 40s or 50s. (The median age at diagnosis is 48, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) The CDC recommends that girls (and boys) get vaccinated when they are 11 or 12 – before they become sexually active and are exposed to the human papillomavirus.

But for many parents, there’s no sense of urgency about the vaccine. In 2013, only 57% of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 had received even one dose, and only 38% got all three, a CDC report…

So it’s not only those who object to adolescent sexuality – but those of us (I’m sure eventually I will be there, too) that simply aren’t ready to accept it in our kids.  I for one hope doctors and public health leaders are able to mainstream this vaccine enough that parents’ squeamishness about their kids budding and future sexuality does not prevent a truly effective tool from getting used more.



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