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Cervical Cancer Down as other HPV Related Cancers Rise

The latest statistics show a downward trend in cases of cervical cancer, but this does not hold true for all HPV-related cancers. HPV, or the human paplliomavirus, has been a catalyst for the development of cervical cancers over several decades. Many cervical cancer cases are easily detected through annual pap-smears and checkups, allowing them to be treated at the first sign of a problem. As the number of cervical cancer cases decline, other HPV-related cases are beginning to appear. The latest wave of cancer cases caused by HPV, include oral cancer, throat cancer, as well as cancers of vagina, vulva, and anus. As physicians have become more virulent in combating the cases of cervical cancer caused by HPV, sexual practices have also changed, allowing the virus to attack other parts of the body. Unlike the cervical cancer cases, there are no early detection methods or practices for the new cancers being caused by the sexually transmitted infection. Fortunately, a vaccine was developed a few years back that builds immunity against HPV. The vaccine, a series of 3 shots, is designed to be taken by pre-teens at the age of 11 and 12. There has been controversy over the required age for vaccination by parents who fear their children will see this as permission to be sexually active; the timing is greatly important as several years are needed to receive the 3-shot treatment and for the body to build the antibodies necessary for protection. The vaccine is approved for use in boys and girls. Health experts are also pushing for the vaccine to be made more prevalent, claiming that the HPV treatment is marketed towards individuals with insurance, who have the ability to see a gynecologist regularly. Many health experts believe that children who do not have access to insurance, regular physician visits, or out-of-pocket payments should still be presented the vaccination option. Experts claim the vaccine is marketed to those who can afford it, not those who need it. Sadly, 4,000 women will die of cervical cancer in 2013. Half of these women have never had a pap test. Statistics like those are what is driving health experts to push the vaccine into low-income areas, so those children will not suffer a similar fate. While the vaccine has not been tested for the treatment of oral cancer, researchers remain optimistic. A study of that kind would require 30-40 years for results, but based on the vaccine’s testing in animals, the outlook is promising. By blocking the HPV 16 virus subtype, which is responsible for most cancer developments, not only will cervical cancer be more controlled, but a huge impact on other deadly cancers is possible too. Sources: USA Today - Health & Wellness - WebMD - CBS News - Health -
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