HPVs(human papilloma viruses) are the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. 20 million Americans are currently infected with sexually transmitted HPV. In 2005, 11,999 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 3,924 women died from the disease. HPVs are the main cause of cervical cancer and should not be treated lightly. With its other subordinates such as smoking, HIV infection, diet, and other presence of sexually transmitted infections, HPVs takes the cake.
Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent on the treatment of cervical cancer per year in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, 11,270 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and 4,070 women will die from cervical cancer. There are approximately 130 strains of HPV, strains 16 and 18 causes 70% of cervical cancer. You can get HPV by having sexual contact with someone who has it or even by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual, although not all types of HPV cause cervical cancer. Some of them may cause genital warts, but other types may not cause any symptoms. One can have HPV for years and not know it, for it can take up to 10 years for a HPV infection to develop into cervical cancer. Treatment depends on how advanced the cervical cancer is. There are two kinds of cervical related cancer. Noninvasive cancer is related to outside the layer of the cervix and just requires treatment to remove the abnormal area of cells. Invasive cancer is deeper than just the outside layer of cells on the cervix and requires more extensive treatment and depends on patient's health problems and personal preferences. When considering an invasive cancer treatment, there are different types of cancer treatments of hysterectomy such as partial hysterectomy, total hysterectomy, and radical hysterectomy. The main vaccine that has been proven to work is known as Gardasil. Gardasil is a three-step process. It is injected three times over a period of six months and helps protect against 4 types of HPV; 2 which cause cervical cancer 70% of the time. Gardasil has been proven to be most effective for women between the ages of 9-26. Gardisil is most effective to females who have not been exposed to an HPV. Some benefits of the vaccine will prevent from cervical cancer (and other diseases) for up to five years. Research is currently being done to prove if women need an extra vaccine in the future to keep the treatment affective. It is recommended to get screenings every year to find any cervical cell changes. Young teenage girls at the age of 15-26 who received the three vaccine doses over six months showed that it was 98% effective against HPV-16/18, and 37%-54% effective against 12 other cancer-causing HPV types. Women with low social status, however, are at higher risk to develop cervical cancer due to lack of access to proper health care services. Unfortunately as of now, there is no FDA approved process to detect HPV in males (http://www.healthscout.com/news/1/631799/main.html, 2009). Genital warts are the only visible sign of low-risk HPV in men. With Gardasil being a big hit in the market, many are concern whether or not it's actually safe to use. In recent news (http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5905EN20091001, 2009), a young teenage girl died shortly after being given the vaccine. Later on, it was proven that the young teenage girl did not receive any screening or background check whatsoever and was simply given the shot without knowing her medical conditions. As always, there are no guarantees and cures to ridding yourself of cervical cancer or HPV. Even though the vaccines may prove to protect against HPV/Cervical Cancer, the individual should also keep in mind that they must maintain wellness in order to decrease the chances of cervical cancer re-appearing once again. It is not proven how the vaccine will effect 20 to 40 years from now. Only constant check-ups and follow-ups will determine the validity of the vaccine.
In conclusion, cervical cancer is a growing threat to our community and has impacted us in all sorts of regions. Some ways to prevent this outbreak are annual pap smears, limit the amount of sexual partners, use protection during intercourse, and absolutely no smoking.
Giving Gardasil to Boys Not Worth the Cost. 8 October 2009. http://www.healthscout.com/news/1/631799/main.html. [Accessed October 11]
Cancer not cervical cancer killed UK teen. 1 October 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5905EN20091001. [Accessed October 11]