Is Gardasil the best protection against HPV-related cancers?
December 1, 2017
While I like a good story with a happy ending, as occurred in your story ‘SupermanHPV’ in the Nov. 3, 2017, issue, I would like to add a cautionary note about the level of enthusiasm given to the Gardasil vaccine series in that story.
There are 170 known types of HPV that cause different issues in humans from warts to cancer. Of these, 17 strains are known to cause cancer in humans.
That being said, Gardasil is supposed to protect against 9 of these different strains that can cause cancer.
The problem is, is that HPV is ubiquitous, and even day old newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit and Nuns have tested positive for HPV.
My daughters received the Gardasil vaccine series as soon as it was available from our Pediatrician in April of 2007. Imagine my surprise and anger when one of them had an abnormal Pap smear two years ago that tested positive for HPV. The more I looked in to how this could be, it was very disheartening to learn that many children are exposed to these viruses well before they would have even have been old enough to have been offered the vaccine.
This is very sobering news when as a parent, I thought I was protecting my daughters and then my sons.
I am not sure whether the Gardasil vaccine series is worth giving knowing these facts, or whether maybe the need to give the vaccine sooner would be more prudent.
But I would not put all of my eggs in one basket thinking that Gardasil is the be-all and literally end-all for preventing cancer in humans.
Shari Yudenfreund-Sujka, MD