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News You Can Use A monthly newsletter from the Cancer Learning Center • January 2008 - Issue 32 Cervical Cancer Vaccination—The Who, When, and Why

In mid 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a vaccine for prevention of several diseases caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18. The diseases include cervical cancer, genital warts, and precancerous conditions that can develop into cancer of the cervix, vagina, or vulva.

The FDA’s website reports the vaccine, named Gardasil, is for females 9 to 26 years of age. It is not intended to be used for treatment of cervical cancer, genital warts, or precancerous conditions. Vaccination does not substitute the need for routine Pap tests, which are the best method to screen for and detect cervical cancer and precancerous conditions that may lead to cancer.

The American Cancer Society states that the vaccine requires a series of three injections over a one-year period. A female receives the first injection, followed by the second two months later, and the third injection four months after that. The current cost is around $360, which does not include doctor’s fees or the cost of giving the injections. Most insurance companies and government vaccination programs for children under age 18 should cover the cost of Gardasil. The vaccine is recommended for girls before they become sexually active. It is also recommended as a “catch up” for women up to age 26, even if they have been sexually active.

The FDA reports the vaccine’s efficacy was studied in four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials

enrolling a total of 20,541 females between the ages of 16 and 26. The tests proved respective efficacies of 100 percent, 95.2 percent, 100 percent, and 98.9 percent.

For more information, visit the Cancer Learning Center on the first floor of Huntsman Cancer Institute or call the Huntsman Cancer Information Service at (801) 581-6365 or (888) 424-2100.

Share Stories with Future Generations

Preserve history with YourStory at the Cancer Learning Center. Created by Meg Brady, University of Utah English and ethnic studies professor and folklorist, YourStory helps cancer patients, their families, and the public document tales of their lives. Recording sessions take place at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), or trained facilitators with portable recording equipment visit homes or patients in rooms at Huntsman Cancer Hospital. The first two hours of recording are free with a nominal charge for additional sessions. To make an appointment call HCI’s Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness Center at (801) 587-4585.

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