From OHC, Specialists in Cancer and Blood Disorders

January 10, 2020

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and OHC is pleased to share that the primary source of cervical cancer – the HPV virus – has decreased since the introduction of the vaccine, Gardasil.

“It’s been almost 15 years since Gardasil was introduced, and recently, The Lancet – one of the world’s oldest, most prestigious, and best known general medical journals – did a review to determine the impact of the vaccine. The results are astounding,” said OHC’s Ajit Gubbi, DO, gynecologic oncologist.

The study found:

  • HPV infections with strains 16 and 18:
    • Decreased 83% among girls ages 13-19
    • Decreased 66% among women ages 20-24 up to eight years after vaccination
  • HPV infections caused by HPV 21, 33 and 45:
    • Decreased 54% among vaccinated girls ages 15-19
  • Genital warts diagnoses fell by 67% in these girls and by 48% in boys of the same age
  • There was a 51% decrease of grade 2 cervical neoplasia, a precursor to cancer, in screened girls 15-19 and by 31% in women 20-24 years

“Regular pap tests remain the most effective way to diagnose and treat cervical cancer,” Dr. Gubbi said. “However, the HPV vaccine prevents it from occurring in the first place. It prevents the viral infections caused by HPV that lead to the development of abnormal tissue, which could become cancer.”

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the expanded use of the vaccine Gardasil to include women and men up to age 45. Gardasil 9 prevents certain cancers and diseases caused by the nine Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Since there is no current way to screen for throat/mouth/neck or anal cancer in women or men, or penile cancer in men, the HPV vaccine remains the only way to prevent those cancers.

It is also important to discontinue the use of tobacco in order to reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

The U.S. Surgeon General has identified cervical cancer as strongly associated with smoking tobacco. And although cervical cancer is caused primarily by HPV, cigarette smoking is considered a cofactor, which means that certain types of HPV and cancer-causing chemicals related to smoking may work together to increase your likelihood of developing cancer.

To learn more about cervical cancer or to request a second opinion, please visit here.

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