Gardasil Immunization against cervical cancer and HPV infections.

Today, Women’s Care Florida celebrates the fact that the outlook for preventing one of the worlds top female cancer killers is better than it has ever been and is proud to play a role in the world wide effort to prevent the disease.  Cervical cancer kills one woman in the world every two minutes.  The good news is that there is now a way to stop cervical cancer before it starts with a vaccination against the virus which causes the cancer.

Each of the Women's Care Florida practice sites offers the vaccination Gardasil manufactured by Merck and will soon be offering the new vaccine Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline when available.

Below is a summary of the facts pertaining to HPV infection, cervical cancer, and the vaccine.  Ask your health care provider if the vaccine may be appropriate for you or a loved one.
CERVICAL CANCER, GENITAL WARTS, & HPV: WHAT IS THE LINK?
Cervical cancer is caused by certain high-risk types of a virus—human papillomavirus (HPV). Other types of HPV can cause genital warts. All types can cause abnormal cervical cells (see “What Are Abnormal Cervical Cells?” at right) and abnormal Pap tests. And, because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people don’t know they have it. For most women, the virus will go away on its own. But for some, cervical cancer can develop. Most often this can take a number of years, but in rare cases it can happen within a year.

HOW DO PEOPLE GET HPV?
HPV is easily transmitted. Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact with an infected person can get HPV (intercourse isn’t necessary). Many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, so they can pass the virus on without even knowing it.

WHAT ARE GENITAL WARTS?
Genital warts are most often caused by certain types of HPV. They are usually soft, flesh-colored growths that can be raised or flat, small or large, alone or in clusters. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are different from the types that can cause cervical cancer.

WHO CAN GET GENITAL WARTS?
Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact can get genital HPV, and certain types of HPV can develop into genital warts. Because many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, they can transmit the virus without even knowing it. About 2 out of 3 people who have sexual contact with a person who has genital warts will also get them. And even if genital warts are treated, 25% of cases come back within 3 months if HPV is still present.

WHAT ARE ABNORMAL CERVICAL CELLS?
Abnormal cervical cells can be the first consequence of HPV. Also known as cervical dysplasia, they are cells in the lining of the cervix that have changed in appearance. The more severe the abnormality, the more likely it is that cervical cancer may develop in the future. Most often this can take a number of years, although in rare cases it can happen within a year. A Pap test looks for abnormal cervical cells before they have a chance to become precancerous or cervical cancer.

WHAT IS CERVICAL CANCER?
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina). Cervical cancer is caused by certain high-risk types of HPV. When a female becomes infected with certain types of HPV and the virus doesn’t go away on its own, abnormal cells can develop in the lining of the cervix. If not discovered early and treated, these abnormal cells can become cervical precancers and then cancer.

WHO CAN GET CERVICAL CANCER?
About half of all females diagnosed with cervical cancer are between 35 and 55 years old. What many of these women may not realize is that they were most likely exposed to one of the high-risk types of HPV during their teens and 20s.

Of the approximately 6 million new cases of genital HPV* in the United States every year, it is estimated that 74% of them occur in 15- to 24-year-olds.

*Number represents more than 30 genital HPV types, not just HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18.

WHAT GARDASIL DOES.
Currently, Gardasil is the only vaccine that may help guard you against diseases caused by HPV Types 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancer cases, and HPV Types 6 and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts cases.



For more information about the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine, visit www.gardasil.com.


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