Push to expand Gardasil vaccine to boys as throat cancer linked to HPV

Beasley Allen

August 19th, 2010 by Wendi Lewis

There is a push to expand the distribution of the vaccine, manufactured by & Company, to boys, as recent studies are linking the development of throat cancers to the Human Papillomavirus (). is currently marketed as a treatment for girls and young women for the prevention of , which also is caused by . is a sexually transmitted virus. protects against four types of , two of which are most often linked to the development of .

Some have already suggested boys ought to be included in vaccinations, in order to limit the possibility of their spreading the virus to their partners when they become sexually active. The FDA has recently approved the use of in boys, but only to prevent genital warts. also has now been linked to the development of penile and anal cancer.

According to a recent story on Forbes. com, the link between and throat cancer has only come about in the last few years, with researchers believing it may be linked to oral sex. According to the report, there are approximately 11,300 -related throat cancers diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Throat cancer has traditionally been linked to smoking and drinking alcohol.

However, since ’s introduction in 2006 for the treatment of , there have been a number of troubling developments. The drug has been linked to a number of serious adverse events reported by young women shortly after receiving the vaccine, which is usually given in a series of three shots. Adverse events have been reported after receiving one or more of the shots. These side effects have included such serious problems as blood clots, seizures and auto-immune disorders. There also have been more than 50 reports of young women who have died shortly after receiving the vaccine.

Even if there are no side effects, some physicians are questioning the benefit of the vaccine. About 90 percent of infections are cleared naturally by the body, never developing into pre-cancerous lesions or cancer. For girls, regular Pap tests can usually detect any pre-cancerous lesions and treat them before they develop into cancer. And, generally all papilloma viruses are slow-moving, with any pre-cancerous lesions they cause developing over time, more easy to find and diagnose before they cause a problem.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to detect such lesions in the throat, which some researchers argue is a positive in favor of the vaccination. However, it also makes studies that would determine the effectiveness of a vaccine like for the treatment of throat cancer much more difficult to determine. Without effective clinical trials with easy to measure results, it is unlikely the FDA would grant approval to the vaccine for this type of use.



Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.