The Skinny on Gardasil

The Skinny on Gardasil

Lawrence –  The last two weeks, we’ve talked about cervical cancer and then pap tests. Cervical cancer is a stealthy type of cancer which could betray you. While other cancers might exhibit symptoms, cervical cancer could leave you in the dark and pop out when you’re already terminal.

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The lucky ones get “warts” in their private areas before their human papillomavirus or HPV infection turns into full-fledged cancer. There is one way, discussed earlier, with which instances of cervical cancer could be lessened. But what exactly is Gardasil and how does it work?

First of all, it’s not true that Gardasil can prevent any type of HPV infection. But it can help prevent HPV types 16 and 18 as well as 6 and 11. Types 16 and 18 cause 70% of all cases of cervical cancer, while types 6 and 11 cause 90% of all cases of genital warts. Gardasil, a vaccine manufactures by Merck & Co., should be administered to girls 9 to 11 of age.

That is, way before girls become sexually active. Since HPV proteins called L1 assemble into virus-like particles, the developers of the vaccine should find a way to mimic the virus. In time, the developers did, and these are then used for the vaccine.

The vaccine can reportedly prevent a potential two-thirds of deaths attributed to cervical cancer. Imagine how great the survival rate would be if all women were vaccinated with Gardasil. According to test trials done on 11,000 girls aged 9-11, there are no side effects whatsoever.

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Gardasil is given or injected on the subject three times over the period of six months: at the preliminary enrollment to the program, after two months, and at the sixth month. The drug, however, is only currently approved in certain countries. I would recommend asking your doctor about it.

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