Preventing Cervical Cancer and the HPV Controversy

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the main risk factor for Cervical Cancer

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different types or strains. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted and they can infect the genital area of men and women. Genital HPV Infection is a STD caused by human papillomavirus.

Persistent infection with “high Risk” types of HPV is the main risk factor for cervical cancer. Approximately 10 of the identified genital HPV types can lead to the development of cervical cancer. Spread by skin to skin contact, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. However, more than 90% of cases (9 out of 10) clear up on their own. That is one reason it’s always important for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) to be diagnosed and treated as early and completely as possible.

Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

HPV vaccine is designed to immunize (protect) against certain STD’s such as cervical cancer and genital warts, both of which are caused by human papillomaviruses The current vaccine targets four types of HPV, two of which cause abut 70% of cervical cancers (7 out of 10). The other two types of HPV cause most cases of genital warts. In the U.S., some public health groups and policymakers favor vaccinating pre-teens and early teenagers, and some expect an HPV vaccine to become one of at least three routine immunizations for adolescents.

The HPV Vaccine Controversy: What It’s About

Several U.S. states are considering mandatory HPV vaccination for pre-teen and early teen females in order to prevent cervical cancer, which can be a very serious disease. However, many parents and policymakers consider mandatory HPV vaccination a violation of parental rights.

Key Issues

Many Public health groups favor vaccinating 11 and 12 year old females in order to prevent their developing cervical cancer. However, the scientific community just doesn’t know yet whether the HPV vaccine will still be effective by the time they become sexually active.

Advocates for mandatory HPV vaccine emphasize that provisions are included in proposed legislation to allow parents to opt out if they do not wish their chills/children to receive the vaccine.

Although males can’t get cervical cancer, should they be vaccinated since they do spread HPV to females?

Some groups feel that vaccinating teenagers against a STD may send a message to them that causes them to become promiscuous.

It is important that parents with children and teenagers do the following:

Follow this controversy closely
Remain informed about the HPV vaccine as it becomes available
Consult their doctor and/or others they trust in deciding on the best solution for them and their family.

Treatment of Cervical Cancer

The 3 main methods of cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes the best treatment approach combines 2 or more of these methods. If a cure is not possible, the goal is usually to remove or destroy as much of the cancer as possible to prevent the tumor from growing, spreading, or returning for as long as possible.