Lack of preventive care, not HPV vaccine, 'real' reason 'too many women still die of cervical cancer'

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

The "real" reason that "[t]oo many women still die of cervical cancer" is the "lack of access to preventive medical care for low-income women and not the lack of a vaccine," Wall Street Journal columnist and Illinois-based physician Benjamin Brewer writes in an opinion piece.

According to Brewer, the "decision to vaccinate a child" with a human papillomavirus vaccine, such as Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil, "should be made by the patient, her parents and their doctor" and not states (Brewer, Wall Street Journal, 3/8).

Gardasil, approved by FDA in July 2006, has been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases.

The vaccine, which costs $360, also is about 99% effective in preventing HPV strains 6 and 11, which together with strains 16 and 18 cause about 90% of genital wart cases (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/28).

Brewer writes that Gardasil will not stop the need for annual Pap tests, adding that the "real usefulness" of the vaccine is its protection against genital warts.

Cervical cancer thus has become a "rare disease" in the U.S. in part because "newer versions of the [Pap] test have cut down on false positives and improved cancer screening," Brewer writes, adding, "There are not millions of women in the U.S. that we're going to save with a mass vaccination program.

The developing world is another story." He concludes, "[A]s a personal choice, spending $360 of disposable income on a vaccine is one thing.

Mandating a vaccine with limited clinical usefulness at taxpayers' expense ... is another" (Wall Street Journal, 3/8).


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
New study reveals how genes can alter the cancer-fighting power of fruits and fiber