Friday, October 07, 2005

Vaccine effective in cervical cancer fight

A vaccine that protects women against the viruses that cause most cervical cancers is one step closer to reality after a major study found it was 100 percent effective at preventing the disease from developing.

The vaccine, Gardasil, works by making people immune to two types of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus that together cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. The study is the last step before application for federal approval.

"This trial confirms that a vaccine can give young women a high level of protection from developing precancerous lesions and early cervical cancers," Laura Koutsky, a University of Washington epidemiologist who led the study, told Reuters.
But the vaccine is expected to be controversial because doctors are likely to push for it to be administered to females in their early teens, or even pre-teens. Because it is not needed until a female is sexually active, some critics have suggested it might encourage underage sex.

Cervical cancer is one of the most lethal cancers among women, annually killing nearly 300,000 worldwide, with the highest percentage coming in Third World countries where early detection screenings are limited, according to the World Health Organization.

Can anyone tell me who those "some critics" might be? I'll be happy to pick up the tuition for a course in Elementary Logic for Stupid, Narrow-minded Pinheads at the college of their choice.


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