Men more accepting of HPV vaccine when considering cancer reduction

For several years, the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, and its European cousin Cervarix has been on the market with mixed reviews, to say the least.   Just as Indian health officials announced the cessation of trials surrounding the drug in their country due to the deaths of six young girls, other health care representatives are looking for ways to promote its use.  Gardasil, which is manufactured by Merck laboratories has been linked to a variety of autoimmune dysfunctions including Guillain Barre Syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, hair loss, coma, seizures and even death.  Some claim that government vaccination monitoring systems and the manufacturer are working over time to cover up complications, all while media hype plays up the benefits of a potentially deadly drug.

Over the course of the last several months, sales of Gardasil have been less than impressive. From $401 million in sales in 2008 to about half–just $286 million in 2009.  Research also shows that in combination with sagging sales, many young girls (only about 27%) are actually completing the three shot series that is required.  Specific reasons for cessation of the vaccination series are not being reported but extreme side effects in conjunction with better public knowledge regarding the risks are thought to be contributing.  In an attempt to sway the downward spiral, Merck has begun to market the drug for new uses–including reducing HPV and anal cancer risks in men and boys, and increasing its age use for women as old as 45.  An attempt to broaden the market is an attempt to broaden sales.

One common driving force for those who have had the HPV vaccine was an attempt to prevent cancer.  A recent study conducted at the University of North Carolina confirms that the fear of cancer itself is enough to encourage many, without knowing much else.  A group of 600 men ages 18-59 were asked if they would take a vaccine if it prevented genital warts, 42% said yes.  When reworded and ask if they would take a vaccine that prevented genital warts and cancer, 60% of those asked responded positively.

The study, which was published in the August 2010 issue of Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and its author hopes the results will open a door of communication between health care providers and patients and focus on the cancer-preventing benefits of the vaccine.

Which, if you have read this blog for any length of time, will bring to remembrance the fact that true cancer prevention with this drug are questionable to say the least, as researchers and respected medical experts begin to voice concerns and speak out against the vaccine–supporting STD prevention, more responsible sexual practices and regular screenings and testing as an equally effective method of HPV control.


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