HPV: Beyond Cervical Cancer

HPV was first identified as the cause of cervical cancer in 1983. In 1984, he discovered HPV18 which, between the two strains were shown to be responsible for approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers. In 2006, the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer as a result of these two strains, Gardasil, was approved by the FDA. The vaccine protects against two high risk strains, those known to potentially cause cancer, and two low risk strains that typically result in genital warts.

Since that time, the usefulness of the vaccine has expanded. The vaccine, which initially was approved as useful only with respect to cervical cancerwas approved by the FDA for the prevention of vaginal, vulvar and most recently, anal precancerous and cancerous lesions, resulting from these two strains of the virus.

As a result, the majority of individuals who have even heard of HPV typically make the connection to cervical cancer. It is almost as if the two have become synonymous. What is unfortunate is that, despite the FDA expanding its use for prevention of three additional cancers. Read more…


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