Ruthie Hawkins, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
HPV vaccine may prevent legions that cause cervical cancer up to 50 percent, researchers say. The human papillomavirus virus, HPV for short, is a collection of over 150 related viruses that cause genital warts as well as those on the hands, and feet.
Infecting nearly 14 million people a year, the common virus has affected nearly 80 million people—about one in four—in the United States alone. Causing ailments such as those listed above, in addition to vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; anal cancer and cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx), the virus presents itself in 40 forms [types].
Fortunately for those managing the sexually transmitted virus, (also passed by skin to skin contact) a new study, conducted by the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, reveals that an HPV vaccine may provide the leverage you need to overcome the illness.
“After eight years of vaccination, the reduction in the incidence of cervical neoplasia [abnormal growth of cells], including pre-cancers, have been reduced approximately 50 percent. This is greater than what was expected — that’s pretty exciting,” said lead researcher, professor of pathology and obstetrics and gynecology, Cosette Wheeler.
For the study, Wheeler and her team collected data from 2007-2014, from young women (New Mexico HPV Pap Registry) who tested for cervical cancer. Asking that they [the women] be considered representative of the whole country, the findings also indicated that those who underwent the vaccine experienced a “reduction in the number of precancerous lesions.”
The significance? “These data highlight and provide even more evidence as to the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing HPV infections and related diseases,” said Fred Wyand, a spokesman for the American Sexual Health Association/National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
So what’s next? “Provider recommendation carries much weight, and parents are far more likely to have their child vaccinated if the provider encourages it,” Wyand added. Of course, that requires that we [parents and providers] “normalize” and educate our young ones on the importance of HPV vaccines.
Given in three shots, a second shot is administered 1 or 2 months following the first shot — a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot, says the CDC. As for who should get the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus.” Meanwhile, “young women up to the age of 26, and young men through age 21, can also get vaccinated.
For more information on the HPV vaccines, symptoms, and more, click here.