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An experimental vaccine has proved highly effective at preventing cervical cancer in a two-year study involving more than 12,000 women, researchers reported today.
The vaccine works by making people immune to two types of a sexually transmitted virus that cause most cases of the disease.
The vaccine, Gardasil, is made by Merck, which plans to apply for approval to the Food and Drug Administration before the end of this year and, if the vaccine is approved, to market it in 2006.
If it were widely used, the vaccine could save many lives. Worldwide, there are about 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer a year, and 290,000 deaths.
DEATHS from cervical cancer could jump fourfold to a million a year by 2050, mainly in developing countries. This could be prevented by soon-to-be-approved vaccines against the virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer - but there are signs that opposition to the vaccines might lead to many preventable deaths.
The trouble is that the human papilloma virus (HPV) is sexually transmitted. So to prevent infection, girls will have to be vaccinated before they become sexually active, which could be a problem in many countries.
In the US, for instance, religious groups are gearing up to oppose vaccination, despite a survey showing 80 per cent of parents favour vaccinating their daughters. "Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian lobby group that has made much of the fact that, because it can spread by skin contact, condoms are not as effective against HPV as they are against other viruses such as HIV.
"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," Maher claims, though it is arguable how many young women have even heard of the virus.
Originally posted by marg6043
When I found out about the benefits of this new vaccine I immediately called my daughter to tell her, that as soon is available to get her shot.
Originally posted by RANT
If your college aged daughter is normal (and she looked mighty damn normal to me ), I don't know that the shots would do anything at this point.
Thus the Religious Right's problem with preventing cervical cancer.
[edit on 11-10-2005 by RANT]