Vaccine Protection For Cervical Cancer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/15/05

Vaccine Protection For Cervical Cancer

Vaccine Protects Against Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer kills about 200,000 women each year worldwide. High-risk infections cause it to develop -- like certain types of a virus transmitted during sex. Now, two new vaccines may prevent that virus altogether.

It's part of a study Blythe Layton is taking part in, to prevent the common virus -- the human pappilomavirus, also known as HPV. She says, “I learned that it’s amazingly prevalent in women in my age group, and I had no idea about that, and that it’s really easy to get, and it’s easy to have without knowing that you have it, and that it can be a precursor for cervical cancer.”

In most women, the virus goes away and the cervix stays healthy. But in some women, HPV causes changes that could lead to cervical cancer. If those changes are picked up by a Pap smear, doctors can remove the cells before they cause harm.

Vaccine Protects Against Cervical CancerHPV study investigator Christopher Thoming, M.D., says, “In the developing world where public health infrastructure is not around, a high percentage of individuals who get cervical cancer die because they get findings too late.”

That could soon change with two vaccines developed to prevent the virus altogether. In earlier trials, both vaccines were 90-percent to 100-percent effective at preventing HPV. “These vaccines could eliminate the great majority of cervical cancers in our lifetime, and that’s a big statement,” says Dr. Thoming, from Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, Oregon.

Vaccine Protects Against Cervical CancerLayton has already had the vaccine. Today she’s having blood drawn to see if she’s developed antibodies to HPV. “It’s definitely made me more conscious of getting regularly tested and just being really careful,” Layton says.

Doctors say the vaccines could be available within two years.

One of the HPV vaccines may also treat and prevent genital warts in men and women. Researchers assure patients that most HPV types are minor and don't cause long-term harm. It's the persistent infections that can lead to cancer.

If you would like more information on the study, please contact:

Lisa Taulbee
Research Director
Westover Heights Clinic
2330 N.W. Flanders St. Suite 207
Portland, OR 97210
lisa@westoverheights.com
http://www.westoverheights.com

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