If we vaccinate, that is. Professor Jack Cuzick, a leading cervical cancer expert from England, is calling on European governments to educate the public about HPV vaccines, which he believes could eradicate cervical cancer within 50 years.
“There’s been a lot of concern, particularly with the vaccine, that dissemination of information about HPV has come mainly from the drug companies, and people are, not surprisingly, a little sceptical of pharmaceutical-based education programmes,” Cuzick says.
Currently, the vaccine protects women from HPV strains that are responsible for about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases. But doctors are well on their way to developing vaccines that will inoculate against all nine strains of the human papilloma virus, so, according to Cuzick, widespread vaccination of young women could wipe out cervical cancer within 50 years.
As someone who has been vaccinated and who has witnessed the expensive and scary health problems HPV can cause, I certainly support widespread HPV vaccination and agree with Cuzick that a vaccination campaign needs to come from health care providers and government, not just pharmaceutical companies.
Still, I don’t understand Cuzick’s argument that eradicating HPV will eradicate cervical cancer. While the majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV, not all of them are. Either The Independent missed something in the retelling of Cuzick’s argument, or he’s not addressing a crucial loophole in his reasoning.
In any case, his point about the importance of widespread HPV vaccination still stands. Would you, or have you, gotten your daughters vaccinated?