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Letters to the Editor

HPV vaccine

February 1, 2007

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To the editor:

I am astounded at the folks who think that a vaccine against the human papilloma virus (the main cause of cervical cancer) encourages immorality.

HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer has a very low survival rate. HPV is usually transmitted during sex, but a woman's chastity does not prevent her from getting it. A woman's chastity does not prevent rape and does not guarantee the chastity of her future husband.

If you feel that sex before or outside of marriage by either partner in a relationship warrants the woman's death from a terrible disease, then by all means go ahead and oppose the HPV vaccine. If not, please support the current efforts to mandate the vaccine for girls before they have any chance of being exposed to the virus.

Judy Roitman,

Lawrence

Comments

Kelly Powell 7 years, 10 months ago

and by sexual contact, that means getting to third base.....Remember highschool people? third base was a acheivable goal with many of the "virgins" out there....and let's not forget those who use the lewinsky/clinton loophole concerning virginity.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"If you feel that sex before or outside of marriage BY EITHER PARTNER in a relationship warrants the woman's death from a terrible disease, then by all means go ahead and oppose the HPV vaccine."

  • Bears repeating, emphasis added.

Excellent LTE, Judy!

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

Dambudzo -

Nope, it too can lead to cervical cancer. Hence the need for this vaccine. But way to sound like a third-rate Hannity clone, hi-yuk, hi-yuk!

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

because you can contral HPV from oral sex, as well as genital sex (less likely, but possible). Certain strains of the HPV virus can then highly increase a woman's odds of developing cervical cancer.

The hell of it is, these same strains also do not produce the genital warts common from some strains of HPV - hence neither men nor women who are carrying these dangerous strains of HPV generally know that they are doing so.

Thus, it is possible for a guy to contract HPV from oral sex as a teenager, even if he never has intercourse prior to marriage. He can then pass this strain on to his wife, who has never had any sexual contact at all prior to marriage.

10 or 20 years later, she gets an abnormal pap smear back, and finds out she has cervical cancer, dying 6 months later.

I guess the point of this LTE is - why does the wife in this scenario deserve to die? Why not take a simple, easy step to prevent such cases (~40,000 a year if I remember right)?

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

I've been told that some women die from childbirth.

Therefore, if you don't want women dying such a terrible death, all girls should be FORCED to have their tubes tied at birth.

Should make sense to Judy.

Anyone know if the vaccine contains mercury? Maybe that will help reduce childbirths - or at least maim them.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey, the warts are still there - the vaccine doesn't block them, so don't worry, you can still use them as a scare tactic, okay, fundies?

Terrify the kids, if you want. Let them get genital warts, if that'll make you happy to see them pay for their sins. Just let us normal people keep them from dying, okay?

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

and the Merck exec who came up with this marketing campaign deserves a big, fat bonus.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"I've been told that some women die from childbirth.

Therefore, if you don't want women dying such a terrible death, all girls should be FORCED to have their tubes tied at birth."


I suppose you're also in favor of doing away with MMR shots, since these can also be easily avoided by simple lifestyle choices, such as avoiding social contact and vigorous handwashing?

And yes, you're absolutely right that there is absolutely no difference between a fatal disease that can be prevented by a vaccine with no demonstrated side effects and a potential complication of pregnancy that you'd propose to prevent by extermination of the human race.

You're pathetic. Really, this is one of the most feeble in a long line of attempts to justify letting kids die because you don't like the fact that they have more than one sexual partner in a lifetime.

A question back at you: would you be in favor of a vaccine that would prevent AIDS?

Mauidreaming 7 years, 10 months ago

People, WAKE UP! This has got nothing to do with whether or not girls will be more promiscuous or saving lives.

What this whole nightmare has to do with is drug companies paying off our legislators to pimp their products by passing laws that will force girls to have drugs put in their bodies (whether or not they want them).

And you can't compare this drug to say a polio vaccine that is already being required by the school system. Women are not falling over dead or becoming crippled by the millions from cervical cancer. Yes, maybe 2,000 women die per year from cervical cancer which is horribly sad, but that absolutely should NOT be a reason to give drug companies control over our bodies.

If this bill passes, it clears the way for drug companies to pull stunts like this again and again, and continue to keep the public living in fear that they will DIE if they don't receive their newest, "live-saving" drug. Kind of like the whole flu shot thing. I just couldn't believe it last year when I saw young, healthy adults standing in line for a flu shot that they just thought they had to have or they might die! Good lord folks, you're not going to die if you get the flu. You'll be just fine. Yes, you might feel crummy for a couple of days, but so what?! You didn't die did you? The only people who ususally die from the flu are elderly people who are sickly anyway.

People, you don't EVER give the government or giant corporations such as the pharmaceutical company control over your body!!! WAKE UP! Question authority a little bit, will ya?

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

"I suppose you're also in favor of doing away with MMR shots, "

The point I was making was not doing away with vaccines, but doing away with being forced to get them. You're right, I am opposed to forcing MMR vaccines. As I would be opposed to forced vaccinations for HIV.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

none of those vaccines are forced, they are merely encouraged, and the parent has to sign an opt-out form that they legally acknowledge the greater risk their child may face through failure to recieve these vaccinations. That's exactly what's being proposed here, men in black helicopters aren't going to snatch up your children and innoculate them against your wishes.

Why, exactly are you against that?

And are you (in principle) against the smallpox vaccine, or the polio vaccine that ended up eradicating a deadly scourge?

Chuck Anziulewicz 7 years, 10 months ago

Some people (usually evangelicals) are now saying the same thing about the HPV vaccine that they used to say about condoms and birth control pills: That they encourage promiscuity!

It's almost like saying that equipping cars with seat belts encourages reckless driving!

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 10 months ago

"If you feel that sex before or outside of marriage by either partner in a relationship warrants the woman's death..."

This is a ridiculous, extreme comment that completely discredits the writer's argument.

You lose (and insult) the reader with this comment.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

How so, STRS? Your argument, along with many others has been that rather than get the vaccine, if people would just "behave properly" they wouldn't need it.

You're advocating that women should not be innoculated, since they should instead just follow the rules you want them to follow.

Whether a child is vaccinated or not, any sexual contact brings with it the chance of exposure to HPV. Your position that children not be vaccinated does nothing to change how often they are exposed to the HPV virus, only the consequences of such an exposure.

In other words, you're saying "if people fail to behave properly, well, HPV and cervical cancer should be part of the price they (or their unknowing partners) pay".

Sure, it's ugly when stated baldly. But really, it's an ugly idea no matter how you state it, and if you have a problem with this statement, the you relaly need to rethink your views on the matter.

crono 7 years, 10 months ago

Regarding the "opt-out" option as a reason for supporting the bill...

If parents can already "opt-in" as it is now, why do we need the bill at all?

BigDog 7 years, 10 months ago

I have no problem with the vaccine. I have a problem with the state mandating the vaccine, it should be a decision made by parents not the government. Nothing like the state deciding every girl should have shots that cost $350-$400. I have some hesitation especially when the subjects in the vaccine's trials were with college age women not 11 and 12 year olds (my daughter's age).

Can anyone show me studies on the effectiveness and side effects for the age of girls they are wanting to vaccinate?

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"If parents can already "opt-in" as it is now, why do we need the bill at all?"

To establish this vaccination as a standard, just like MMR & tetanus vaccinations, that's why. Because sad to say, not every parent is a model parent, and their children's health should not be allowed to suffer because Mom or Dad is too lazy or ignorant to take basic precautions in taking care of their children.

=====

"I have a problem with the state mandating the vaccine, it should be a decision made by parents not the government. "

The government already does this for about 6 or 7 other diseases - have a problem with all them, too? Or is it once again - the need to tell ourselves, "MY CHILD is different?" Your children should not be punished for your own self-deception.

====== "Nothing like the state deciding every girl should have shots that cost $350-$400. "

Since the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the vaccine routinely for females aged 11-12 and also approved its use for females 13-26 and stated that the vaccine could be administered to females as early as age 9, it is likely that the vaccine will be covered by health insurers and the Vaccines for Children Program

Source: http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/immunization/human_papillomavirus/

======== "Can anyone show me studies on the effectiveness and side effects for the age of girls they are wanting to vaccinate?"

There is also evidence that the vaccine has a 2 to 3 times greater immunogenicity when given to females ages 9-11 compared to females aged 15-25.

Hence, it's been tested on both age groups, with no negative side effects other than minor irritation at the site of injection and headache for a few days afterwards.

Plus, before you get all concerned about the effects of a vaccine, read up on the effects of cervical cancer.

(Same source as above)

Frank Smith 7 years, 10 months ago

Of all the foolish, uninformed things crazyks wrote, the notion that we may not know that we are no longer immune to smallpox is the silliest. There is no smallpox anymore, outside samples in two heavily guarded labs in Russia and the U.S. Vaccination eliminated the disease. There hasn't been a case in decades.

Oh, there was one other place where it existed until recently. Bush claimed that Saddam had it and was going to give it to us all, one of Iraq's famous missing WMDs.

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

"none of those vaccines are forced, they are merely encouraged, " I was just going by the letter writer: "If not, please support the current efforts to mandate the vaccine for girls before they have any chance of being exposed to the virus."

Maybe they meant "mandate" as you do, you can "opt out" if you jump through a bunch of hoops, but otherwise, they will "strongly encourage" you to get it and make you feel like a heel if you don't.

Why are you so pushy with the vaccine when people can get it, why not public education rather than some bill? Do you have any financial stakes in it?

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

No I don't own stock in Merck, but I do think they're one of the better of the pharmaceutical giants.

Why do I think it should be so strongly encouraged? Because while there are some familes where the parents take an active and concerned role in their childrens' growth and development, there are also some families where the kids are cared for indifferently, Dad's long gone, and Mom cares for them somewhere between scoring some pot and her latest boyfriend.

Everyone likes to pretend that all kids grow up in these wonderful loving homes - and good for them if they do, I sure was lucky that I did, but I also had friends who didn't. We can't force parents to love and care for their children, but if we can cheaply and easily prevent some of these kids of having their lives cut short from cervical cancer, I don't see a reason not to, other than people not wanting to admit that kids do indeed have sex.

Plus, if we'd relied on public education alone, we'd still have smallpox and polio around. And how's that public education done at eradicating AIDS? Defeating diseases isn't done on the level of idividuals, but on that of populations.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"make you feel like a heel if you don't."

If you're willing to leave your daughter susceptible to dying of cancer that can be easily and cheaply prevented - all because you're afraid that not having the fear of dying in 20 or 30 years will cause her to act like a slut - then yeah, I guess you should feel like a heel.

You can give girls this shot without encouraging them to turn into total whores, you know. There are enough good reasons to give kids to put off sexual intercourse, even if do you prevent them from dying from cervical cancer in their 40s. Use those. Don't force your kids to die for their mistakes and your pride.

oldgoof 7 years, 10 months ago

Mauidreaming: " Question authority a little bit, will ya?" . Oldgoof: (with big laugh) Yup, there is a terrible lack of anyone questioning authority on this board.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

Question authority - I agree - ask why they are telling what they are telling you. Demand that they justify it. think for yourself.

But don't be a contrarian idiot like Mauidreaming - yes, there is often too much money and politics in the FDA approval process - especially for "quality of life drugs" which is where the big profits are, such as Viagra. But the studies are validated and available to review. No side effects, not one. Been used for years in other countries.

Every time people advocate taking a drug, they are not necessarily paid off by the drug industry. And flu shots save literally billions in productivity each year - and if I'm barely scraping by, three-five days of missed work from illness could really do me in, no way I wouldn't do everything in my power to avoid the flu.

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

"If you're willing to leave your daughter susceptible to dying of cancer that can be easily and cheaply prevented"

Hmmm. Not forced. Not mandatory. Opt out.

Ummmhmmm.

Not what you're conveying.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

75 x55:

"Hysterics don't make good public policy."


What, hysterics like: "this vaccine will encourage children to have sex!"?
--Because god knows it's not the fault of TV, magazines, peers, or natual instincts, its a newly developed shot. In fact, before this vaccine was developed, no one ever had sex.

Or: "OMG vaccines are teh 5uxx0rs!!!1!"? --Because the polio vaccine and smallpox eradication were actually evil conspiracies on the part of huge corporations to profit!

Or maybe you mean the folks shouting: "Keep the Gubbermint out of my business!"

That's all the objections to this vaccine I can recall. Have you, perhaps, an INTELLIGENT objection to the vaccine? One that doesn't involve encouraging kids to have sex while the CEOS can rub themselves hundred dollar bills and drink the blood of autistic babies while the gubbermint watches?

Otherwise, yeah, all the arguments against this vaccine are hysterical, and none makes good public policy.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"Question leftist authority."

Yes, but NEVER rightist authority. Just trust me on this one.

^^^What a moronic statement. It's generally a good idea to question the credentials of anyone who sets themselves up as some sort of ideologue telling you what to believe. But at some point, you have to accept that certain people are in fact more qualified to ascertain the truth, and stop crying because people don't take your opinion on a given subject as seriously a someone who's spent years studying it. Otherwise, you stop sounding like an intelligent critical thinker, and more like a dirty anarchist hippie, or whatever the rightwing equivalent would be. Freeper, I guess.

=========

"And "opt-out" ain't all it's cracked up to be - considering that given enough political muscle, lefties are more than happy to remove 'opt-outs' - after all, it suggests that they don't have the full ability to make people do what's best."

I'm guessing you have a pet example in mind? Because Id love to hear an example of an opt-out provision that's been removed or rescinded. All over this country, Jehovah's witnesses are allowed to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance and holiday celebrations, Christians opt out of safe sex education, and hindus opt out of the Running of the Bulls (or whatever).

Otherwise, if you can't point to an example, I'd have to question your authority, even though it's not leftist.

=======

"How come they don't believe like we do?"

More like, how can they expose their kids to the chance of dying of cancer? How can they really believe that giving this vaccine will encourage them to have sex? Haven't they ever known a "born-again virgin?" or a kid who's been sexually assaulted? How can they be confident enough that their daughter's husbands will have been 100% abstinent that they are willing to risk their death of cancer?

Can they really be that uptight about sex, that they see anything even vaguely related to it as being a threat?

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

How about, Vaccines don't really do any good so why add another.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"How about, Vaccines don't really do any good so why add another."

Yeah, I was just saying so to a smallpox patient in my doctor's waiting room while awaiting treatment for my polio. Then a guy came in with tetanus, and sat across from the girl with measles, mumps, and rubella.

Luddite moran.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

Werekola,

"There is also evidence that the vaccine has a 2 to 3 times greater immunogenicity when given to females ages 9-11 compared to females aged 15-25."

What evidence? From where? Your source doesn't say.

It does say, however, that so far, they have only proven that protection lasts about four years. Past that, it's an unknown. It also says that it may be discovered in the future that a booster shot will be required later.

To me, this means that they haven't studied the effects of this vaccine for very long at all. Seems like they're making all kinds of statements about it that have no proof behind them.

So, what if thousands and thousands of young girls get the vaccine? Then what if they decide, much later, that the vaccine only lasts for 10 years? Seems to me that there could be literally hundreds of thousands of women for whom the vaccine will no longer be effective before the scientists even know it.

In which case, by the time they know it and pulicize that they know it, those hundreds of thousands of women could be exposed to HPV in the interim, and never know it. In which case, a booster shot, if necessary, would be kind of a moot point after that.

And what is all this stuff about boosters for vaccines? I got vaccinated for polio. I never remember having to get a booster for it.

I got vaccinated for smallpox. Never got a booster for it. Back then, they didn't tell anyone that a booster would be necessary. They probably didn't even know at the time. But because they didn't know, there are probably millions of people who think they're still vaccinated against smallpox that really aren't.

Excuse me for saying so, but if a vaccine truly works, and prods the body to create antibodies against a particular virus, then shouldn't that create immunity for life? If it doesn't, then how good is the vaccine anyway? If it doesn't give you lifetime immunity, then why call it a vaccine?

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"something as lethal and easily transmitted as influenza, polio, etc."

So what about vaccinations for measles, mumps, rhubella, whooping cough, and tetanus? Do those meet your rarified crieria, or are they "not deadly enough" that they should be mandatory?"

Cervical cancer infects about 10,000 women ech year in the US, and kills about 4,000 of them - that's 40% lethality. Its most common cause is several strains of HPV - a disease spread by virus particles entering the skin. While this usually happens with direct or indirect tissue contact to the genitals, it is also possible, although much less likely, for HPV to be transmitted by hand contact, etc.

So we've got a vaccine that will prevent more people from dying each year than were killed on 9/11 - but I guess that's not deadly enough for you?

By contrast, polio is spread via the fecal-oral route, and has about 10% mortality. I suppose if you Luddites had been around when that vaccine was invented, you'd have blamed Salk for encouraging kids to give eachother rimjobs or something equally stupid.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"Gee werekoala - just a little obsessed with underage sex, are ya?"


Now the "aw, shucks" routine... As if the very objections being raised by all the conservatives about this issue weren't "But this will encourage kids to have SEXXX!!!"

Me, I don't really care about the fact that it's sexually transmitted -- it just bothers me that this is the basis so many idiots are basing their decisions on. I've said it before, if HPV was transmitted by dairy products, wearing socks, or dancig, we wouldn't be having this discussion because NO ONE would object to it.

As it is, I can't imagine how people can object to a drug that will save the lives of 4,000 women a year -- that half a million women over the course of the next century. I really can't see how anyone can object to it.

I almost wonder if some of these nutball objectors might not be willing to kill 4,000 people by themselves, with their bare hands, if only it would keep kids from having sex.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure about the mortality rate, werekola. In my own family, my mother and two aunts had cervical cancer. My aunts both survived it. My mother did not.

I got immunity from measles by having them when I was a child. Same with the mumps.

But vaccines are not mandatory now. Not for adults, anyway. The only ones they want to mandate them for is children.

This is just too much governmental control. It should be up to the parents which vaccines their children should get, and when.

It is recommended that adults get mammograms or tested for colon cancer or prostate cancer every so often, too, but it's not mandated. Would you like it if it was, and if you didn't go to have the tests done, you would get fined?

It is recommended by doctors to get a thorough physical every year. Would you like it if this was mandated, and you had to have it done by a certain date, or face a fine?

There are just some things that the government has no business being involved in, and medical care and treatment are two of them.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"What evidence? From where? Your source doesn't say."

From the studies they used to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccine before approving it. Makes sense - younger kids have much stonger immune systems than adults do, so their body's immune response to a vaccine would probably be more powerful.

=====

" they have only proven that protection lasts about four years. Past that, it's an unknown. It also says that it may be discovered in the future that a booster shot will be required later."

So you've got a wonder drug that can prevent people from getting cervical cancer - how long should they wait - 30 years until the test subjects are themselves of age to contract cervical cancer? Ccome on - unless you want to wait 60 years for ANY drug to be approved, you have to, at some point, say, okay, long enough, and enough patients have seen this, without any negative side effects.

======

" Seems like they're making all kinds of statements about it that have no proof behind them."

Only because you don;t have any idea how drugs are approved - it's a 5-10 year process on average. Tell you what, if you have any new prescription - Lipitor, Valtrex, etc, they don't have any long term data on those, either. Because no one wants to wait any longer than they have to.

And, by the way, the only reason you know this at all is that they are, indeed, very careful not to claim anything they can't back up.

=======

"Then what if they decide, much later, that the vaccine only lasts for 10 years? Seems to me that there could be literally hundreds of thousands of women for whom the vaccine will no longer be effective before the scientists even know it."

Well, then these girls had ten years of immunity from the disease, during some of their most statistically promiscuous periods. It'd be nice to have absolute certainty - want a pony while you're dreaming? Plus, if we do make this mandatory, we'd stand a chance of significantly reducing, if not eliminating, the existence of this disease in our society. Look how few polio cases were around 10 years after Dr. Salk invented his vaccine. It'd be nice to have a lifetime guarantee, but even 10 years is a long time to buy for these girls.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

=====

"those hundreds of thousands of women could be exposed to HPV in the interim, and never know it. "

Which completely misses the point that they'd still have been exposed without it. Basically you're saying we shouldn't do A, because B might happen, even though you have no evidence of B, and B would happen anyway if we didn't do A.

See how silly that sounds?

=====

"Excuse me for saying so, but if a vaccine truly works, and prods the body to create antibodies against a particular virus, then shouldn't that create immunity for life? If it doesn't, then how good is the vaccine anyway? If it doesn't give you lifetime immunity, then why call it a vaccine?"

Vaccine doesn't mean "permanent, eternal, unchanging cure" - it means a method of artifically stimulating the body to prepare immune system response to a given disease, without actually having to contract the disease. But the immune system can and does age, and can "forget" how to respond to infrequent stimuli - hence the need for boosters.

One of the reasons you may not have needed boosters for earlier illnesses was the massive public health emphaisis on complete immunizations - if everyone in a population is innoculated, the virus loses its ability to propagate and ceases to exist in that population. Hence, you might have not have been immune to polio for life, but you and everyone else was immune to it for long enough that it lost its foothold in the US.

This, by the way, is one of the best arguments FOR universal vaccinations - if we pussy-foot around with the virus and allow it continual, repeat exposures for years and years with immunized patients, eventually it will mutate into something the vaccine does not stop. If you have a good, effective vaccine against a disease, you don't "hold back" and "let everyone make up their minds" -- you can't. I don't want my neighbor deciding he wants to be a damn incubation culture for smallpox, or his kids to be one for HPV - I want them both (the diseases) D-E-A-D.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"I'm not sure about the mortality rate, werekola. In my own family, my mother and two aunts had cervical cancer. My aunts both survived it. My mother did not."

Congratulations to your aunts, and I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. But those numbers are from the Mayo Clinic - argue with them if you wish.

========

"It is recommended that adults get mammograms or tested for colon cancer or prostate cancer every so often, too, but it's not mandated. Would you like it if it was"

If either of those were preventions for transmissible diseases, you bet your sweet ass I would. And I'm pretty sure the vaccinations are opt-out for all children, and we also require immunization records for emmigrants into the country. Those without the recommended vaccinations are highly encouraged to get them.

======

"There are just some things that the government has no business being involved in, and medical care and treatment are two of them."

The rest of the civilized world would beg to differ, but that's another can o'worms. Put it this way - libertarianism - letting the free market work things out is a lovely theory, until I get to the point where I ask, so who puts out my house when it's on fire? Who enforces contracts and ajudicates disputes, etc.?

In other words, this is a lovely idea, and I don't favor government telling us how we should live our lives. But again, I think your freedom ends when you start acting as a danger to myself and my loved ones. Willingly offering yourself up as a host for deadly diseases fits that category, at least in my mind. There's a perfect warfare between us and pathogens, and by offering safe haven for them to multiply, adapt, and disperse, you offer aid and comfort to the ultimate terrorists.

Okay, a little hyperbole in that last paragraph, but seriously. We shouldn't diddle around with a great weapon to use against a deadly disease - we shoudld use it, and use it to maximum effect. I understand there are some with religious/moral objections to vaccination - fine, but if you catch anything, you'll be quarantined, by force if necessary.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

I have difficulty believing in the first place that HPV "causes" cervical cancer. It may make you more susceptible to it, but that doesn't mean it causes it.

Does it really make sense to everyone that cervical cancer is caused by HPV, when no other kind of cancer has been shown to be caused by a virus? When all people who have cervical cancer do not have HPV, nor do all who have HPV develop cervical cancer?

I'm afraid if it was that simple, cancer would not be the problem that it is. An absolute cure would have been found a long time ago. If cancer is caused by a virus, then why haven't they found the viruses that cause the other types? Why isn't there a vaccine for liver cancer, or ovarian cancer, or breast cancer?

Seems to me that all cancers are similar, and as such they are probably caused by the same thing. We just don't know what it is.

Still, I don't think the government should be telling people what they have to do when it comes to medical decisions. What's next? A mandate to force everyone to have hysterectomies or vasectomies at a certain age?

It's not as far-fetched as you think. Maybe you should read Brave New World again, and see the similarities to our own world.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"I have difficulty believing in the first place that HPV "causes" cervical cancer."


Yes, I'm sure the CDC, WHO, AMA, NEJM, and all the rest of the alphabet soup are lying to us. . .

This is one of the problems with the age we live in - it used to be, you were entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Now, we tend to think of facts as malleable, and subject to a vote -- that's unfortunately not how it works. Yes, there are highly intelligent people who have spent their entire lives studying these phenomena, and no, your opinion is not as valid as theirs. Nor is mine. If you don't like it, go get yourself a doctorate in cellular biology.

This is a perfect example of "truthinness".

=====

"When all people who have cervical cancer do not have HPV, nor do all who have HPV develop cervical cancer?"

Not all people with lung cancer are smokers, and not all smokers get lung cancer, but we're pretty damn certain the two are correlated. See where I'm going with this?

======

"Seems to me that all cancers are similar, and as such they are probably caused by the same thing. We just don't know what it is."


Please educate yourself, because WE really do know a great deal more than YOU seem to think. We know the proximal cause of cancer - wildly replicating mutated cells that are spreading throughout the body. However, many things can cause this - certain substances, known as carcinogens, as well as prolonged exposure to environmental irritiations - such as smoke on lung cells, or viral particles in the cervix. When that happens, the cells of those tissues first undergo metaplasia, where the normal epithelial cells are replaced by a hardier variety, and then dysplasia, where the replacing cells begin to multiply rapidly, far exceeding the original space. From there, it is just a short jump to a mutated cells replicating without a shut-off, or what we call cancer.

The much-hoped for "cure to cancer" wouldn't even be a preventative measure like this - it would be some way to selectively kill just the mutating cells while leaving the normal cells untouched - much harder than you'd think, because both the cancer cells and regular cells share the same DNA.

This isn't a cure, it's more like a prevention - not contracting HPV is like not smoking.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"Why isn't there a vaccine for liver cancer, or ovarian cancer, or breast cancer?"


Because those types of cancer typically result from exposure to non-viral carcinogens, that's why. I wish they didn't - you're right, if all cancer was the result of viral infection, we'd stand a much better chance of defeating the bloody monster.

=====

"Still, I don't think the government should be telling people what they have to do when it comes to medical decisions. What's next? A mandate to force everyone to have hysterectomies or vasectomies at a certain age?

It's not as far-fetched as you think. Maybe you should read Brave New World again, and see the similarities to our own world."

I've read, and enjoyed, Brave New World several times, and it is definately a good idea to be concerned about what the future may hold. But that concern must also be tempered with knowledge and understanding.

For instance, it's one hell of feat of mental gymnastics to go from vaccinations against a deadly disease to forced sterilization -- the two aren't even close.

I'd point out that most pathologies are limited - if you don't get a broken leg set, you aren't going to give someone else a broken leg, for example. And for those individual decisions, I agree, we shouldn't allow government intrusion.

However, communicable diseases, especially deadly ones, are like fire - they don't respect boundaries, and if you don't put out your neighbor's house, it will eventually catch your own house on fire as well. This is why, as social creatures, living surrounded by thousands of other humans, we can't afford to let everyone decide whether or not to let his house catch on fire - it really does affect us all. That is why we have fire codes, and that is why we come pretty damn close to mandating vaccinations -- because your failure to take basic precautions doesn't just affect you in this case - it affects everyone you come into contact with.

If you don't want a vaccine - I'd say that's fine as long as you live on a desert island and never come into contact with other people. But the minute you do, in my opinion, you lose the right to be a breeding ground for deadly bacteria and viruses.

davisnin 7 years, 10 months ago

I'll begin by saying I think the kids should all get this in theory, however it's not the govt's place to MANDATE.

That said, here is some fodder.

Remember when Dow Corning was put out of business for silicone 'causing' problems... a lot of people were convinced and passionate on that one. Last I heard 25% of the female population carry some form of HPV (though 75% of the general pop. have been at one point infected). So 4000 is not 40% mortality of HPV

And you can't ignore Merck's Brave New World strategies here and compare this to the polio vaccine.
~From the Eisenhower archives: "On April 12, 1955, American received the much-welcomed news that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine against the frightening disease. Immediately, the federal government implemented a plan to have the vaccine produced by six licensed pharmaceutical companies and distributed to children throughout the country." So here it was developed for the greater good through the cooperation of many.

In THIS case a heavily funded corporation develops a product with high commercial potential although with questionable need. Then push it through the approval process (it's not overwhelming demand but money that gets drugs to market) and pour MILLIONS into lobbying the government to MANDATE the purchase of their product. There are, lets say, 50million women in the age range this would affect in the US... 360/shot... 18 billion dollars

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

There's a great difference between correlation and causation, and they have not proven to me that HPV "causes" cervical cancer.

The same problem exists here as it does with the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. If smoking "caused" lung cancer, then everyone who got it would be a smoker or former smoker. No one who had never smoked would ever get it. Yet this is not the case.

The same is true for HPV. Not all who get cervical cancer have HPV, and not all who have HPV will get cervical cancer. This, to me, strongly indicates that HPV is not the "cause".

If you go out in the cold without a coat, it can lower your resistance and make you more susceptible to catching a cold. This does not mean that the cold weather "caused" your cold. If you are working too many hours and not getting enough sleep, your resistance is lowered and you will be more susceptible to catching a cold. This does not mean that being tired "caused" your cold.

Do I mistrust the scientific "facts"? Sure I do. 30 years ago, they were convinced that using saccharin "caused" cancer. Now they have changed their minds, and say it's perfectly safe. 30 years ago, they were convinced that preservatives, especially in bacon, "caused" cancer. Again, now they have changed their minds.

Although I might point out here that, even though they were thoroughly convinced that these things "caused" cancer, there was never any talk of banning them for human consumption.

They used to think that problems with high cholesterol were the fault of not enough exercise. Until they began to find lots of people who DID exercise, and still had high cholesterol. Then they decided that it was because people were still eating lots of fatty foods. Until they began to find lots of people who both exercised and ate healthy diets, and STILL had high cholesterol. Now we're at the point where they say that no matter what you do, you may still have problems with cholesterol, because part of it is genetic.

They also used to think that you couldn't spread genital herpes unless you were having an outbreak at the time of intercourse. Now they say this isn't true. You can pass it along to others at any time, even if you're not having an outbreak.

So do I have the blind faith in medical research that you seem to have? No.

Do I think that HPV may be correlated to cervical cancer? Sure...it stands to reason that if you already have one thing, your body is not as capable of fighting off another thing.

But this does not prove causation. There are far too many variables that could possibly be involved, and you can't possibly eliminate all those other variables.

Would vaccinating for HPV decrease the chance of cervica cancer? Possibly. But it is a decision that should be made by the parents and the doctor. It shouldn't be forced by the government.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

Kropotkin, you are the foolish one if you think that the human race is now "immune" to smallpox. Immunity means that even if you came into contact with it, you wouldn't catch it. This is not true at all. They haven't even vaccinated against smallpox for decades now, thinking it was no longer a danger.

And this is where the real danger comes from. For now there are millions of people out there who have no kind of immunity from it at all.

As far as we know, there are only two samples of smallpox left in the world. Unfortunately, there's a lot we don't know. What if some sort of accident occurred, and those two samples were somehow released?

Also, it has been found that smallpox can lie dormant for hundreds of years. Why do you think that, whenever a cemetery has to be moved, that all the workers who do it have to be vaccinated against all kinds of things, and still have to sign a waiver saying they realize the dangers and are still willing to do the work?

Bubonic plague killed millions in Europe at one time. It's not nearly as common as it once was, even without a vaccine. But it still exists. There are several cases of it in the U.S. every year. It's just that now there's a treatment for it, and it's no longer as deadly as it once was.

Perhaps that's where the medical research needs to head. Instead of trying so hard to find "cures" for various diseases, they should work harder to find ways to attempt to neutralize them, or find effective treatments, so that if someone does get a disease, it won't be nearly as dangerous.

Danielle Brunin 7 years, 10 months ago

If you've ever seen anyone die from cervical cancer, you'd probably agree that the vaccine is worth the risks. My best friend from high school's sister-in-law died at 28. It was one of the most painful deaths that I have ever seen (and I have seen other people who have died of cancer). It doesn't just affect women in their 40s, it can affect very young women. If there is any chance that a vaccine could prevent other women from suffering the way Christie did, I am totally in favor of it.

bevy 7 years, 10 months ago

Bottom line for me - the mother of three daughters of the right age group - is that this vaccine could save them pain, anguish, and their LIVES.

You don't want your kids having sex? Then PARENT THEM!! TEACH them not to have sex, INFORM them of the possible physical consequences of unprotected sex, and PARENT THEM. Not giving them a lifesaving vaccine will not keep them from choosing to "do it" if they want to.

Let me try some of this reasoning: Lots of kids are killed in car accidents - so my child will never get a drivers' license. Some kids die from drowning, so I'll keep my kid away from the water. Many kids set fire to their houses, so I won't allow fire in my house.

You can't put your kid in a bubble.
You can educate them, and trust them to make intelligent decisions - if you teach them how to do so.

By the way, my pediatrician told me that one reason they want to mandate the vaccine is so that insurance companies will have to pay for it. (including medicaid and healthwave) so that not only the entitled can have it.

Note to self: make my girls an appointment for their first shot.

letsgetwise 7 years, 10 months ago

It's amazing to me that it's such an issue if someone wants to question this vaccine. I guess we all can simply buy into anything that's put before us, but what I see is there are plenty of people that want to look at this, look at the info that's out there and readily available, ask questions of someone other than those on this board, and make an informed decision for themselves and their families. My brother, by all information available at the time, contracted polio from the vaccine. My friend's baby brother, by all information available, had a convulsion and died from the DPT vaccine. Another acquaintance of ours had a perfectly "normal" toddler, who after getting the DPT started acting "abnormal" and ultimately it DID develop into autism. I ALSO know families whose children only had minor reactions to the various vaccines they were given. I know people who received the MMR and then devoloped measle when they were college age. As far as I am concerned, there is no all to end all with ANY vaccine. My husband and I have some vaccinations, and had some of the "childhood diseases". Some of my children have some of the vaccinations, and have had some of the childhood diseases. We made decisions based on the information we had at the time knowing full well we had to accept the outcome of OUR decision. Because...the government, nor the medical profession will accept the responsibility for the outcome of a vaccination "gone wrong". You are required to sign a waiver for any reactions your child has when given these "strongly encouraged" vaccinations. My brother has received no compensation for losing the use of his left arm after receiving the polio vaccination. My mother and father didn't "sue" the doctors for this "reaction" because, (in my mother's words) "you didn't sue doctors doing what they thought was best at the time." My picture of vaccinations, is that there is not one out there that is the "perfect fit" for all people. People react differently to different chemicals. And, if you or your family member is one of the___ % that have a reaction, then that blank becomes 100%. I don't believe vaccinations should be mandated and yet waivers have to be signed. This should be "opt in" as someone so aptly put it.

Godot 7 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if werekoaloa is paid by Merck?

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"if that's the true reasoning, and we're really trying to decrease the chance of people suffering from cancer....."

What other reason could there possibly be? Seriously, aside form the idiots who think I'm being paid off by Merck - what other reason for promoting a drug to limit cancer could there possibly be?

=====

"then why don't we just outlaw tobacco?"

Some people are trying to; I think you've been complaining about that in some of the other threads. But I don't think it will work, illegalization might work for some things, but not for a substance that's more physiologically addicting than heroin. All that would do is drive it undergorund. Education is a far-less-effective second, but it's all we really have.

Point being, if there were a vaccine that would prevent you from being affected by the carcinogens carried by cigarette smoke, I'd be in favor of mandating that, too. While we may not be able be able to do that for all cancers, we should thank God we can do it for even one of them.

Again, this drug prevents people from getting cancer - only in a society that would shut down a major city over lite-brites would this even be an issue.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"If smoking "caused" lung cancer, then everyone who got it would be a smoker or former smoker. No one who had never smoked would ever get it. Yet this is not the case."


OMG - I really never thought I would get to hear someone honestly deny that somking causes cancer. I mean, maybe in the 70s or 80s, but anymore, you're a rare bird indeed. When the flipping companies themselves have admitted smoking causes cancer, you might reconsider your position, m'kay?

SMOKING DOES CAUSE CANCER - it irritates the tissues in the lungs - causing them to be replaced, at first with different cells, and then with a greater number of different cells, and finally with different cells that never stop reproducing. (that's what cancer is, hon.)

The thing is - many environmental and genetic factors can theoretically lead to this cell replacement. But just because smoking is one among many others such as dust, soot, steam, etc, doesn't mean it's not a, or even the main cause of this tyoe of cancer.

It's the same way with cervical cancer - yes, there are potential other causes of the disease, but by and large irritation of the cervix is caused by HPV - there's not many other factors that can disturb that tissue. Your apparent inability to comprehend this basic point regarding the etiology (look it up) of cancer seriously calls into question the rest of your points.

I mean seriously, by your argument, you might as well argue that just because YOU'VE never gotten a ticket for speeding, there's no such thing as speed limits. Or that there's no such thing as tornadoes because you've never seen one. Or that drinking doesn't impair your driving, because not everyone gets in a wreck driving home after a bender.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"The same is true for HPV. Not all who get cervical cancer have HPV, and not all who have HPV will get cervical cancer. This, to me, strongly indicates that HPV is not the "cause".


You're debating sematics, not substance here. Put it this way - if someone stays up three nights in a row and then gets sopping wet and runs around for an hour lightly dressed in freezing temperatures, none of those factors, in and of itself, gave the person the sickness. But no one will be suprised when they come down with something.

In the same way, if you smoke 5 packs a day for 30 years, I think you'll have a very small contingent who would honestly be suprised when you come down with cancer, emphysema, or COPD.

Google "risk factor" sometime. My point is is we can lower one risk factor without raising another, we have a moral obligation to do so.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"Do I mistrust the scientific "facts"? Sure I do. 30 years ago, they were convinced that using saccharin "caused" cancer. Now they have changed their minds, and say it's perfectly safe. 30 years ago, they were convinced that preservatives, especially in bacon, "caused" cancer. Again, now they have changed their minds."


No, they didn't. Preliminary studies indicated a mild correllation. Subsequent studies found that this was within the margin of error, and not definitively linked to an increased risk factor.

======

"So do I have the blind faith in medical research that you seem to have? No."


It's not blind faith - its the reasonable man's supposition that if thousands of scientists can disprove or cast doubt on a link between a possible risk factor and a disease, over decades of research, odds are they're pretty spot-on.

The claims you linked to before were the results of one or a handfull of studies being released into the popular press before they were properly validated by other scientists - I don't think either survived more than a few years of scientific scrutiny.

Contrast that with a decades-long attempt to research the ties between cervical cancer and HPV - all indicating a postitive linkage.

It's like you're saying that since those Texas A&M guys announced they'd achieved cold fusion once, and never duplicated it, we shouldn't believe anything a scientist tells us about solar power, ever. That's not taking extraordinary claims with a grain of salt -- that's failing to understand the basic tenants of science.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

"Perhaps that's where the medical research needs to head. Instead of trying so hard to find "cures" for various diseases, they should work harder to find ways to attempt to neutralize them, or find effective treatments, so that if someone does get a disease, it won't be nearly as dangerous."


Say - that's a great idea - come up with a way to neutralize viruses! Wonder why no one's ever come up with that idea before? Crazyks, you're a genius! In fact, you oughta be nominated for the Nobel Prize!

THAT'S ONLY BEEN THE HOLY GRAIL OF MEDICINE FOR THE LAST 70-ODD YEARS, YOU DOLT!!!

Come on man, we can't do that. We would love to be able to. But as the state of the medical art stands right now - we really don't even have the glimmerings of a method for actually defeating viruses the way we do bacteria.

The best we can do, as it stands, is to try and inspire the body's natural defenses to develop protection prior to infection -- that's what vaccinations are all about. Sure it would be better to be able to defeat viruses once the infection has begun, but while you're dreaming, why not ask for a pony or a unicorn?

Luddites like yourself, who either want a whole cake or none at all, are professional naysayers who offer no hope, solutions, nor prayer of intelligent discourse on public policy. You just want to whine and say "But-but-but- it's not PERFECT!" Well, welcome to Earth, home of imperfect solutions for an imperfect world.

As it stands, this vaccine is the best solution we have for preventing death form cervical cancer. The minute you have a better one, I'll be all in favor of dropping this one.

But I'm not holding my breath.

werekoala 7 years, 10 months ago

NORMAL PEOPLE:

My apologies for taking so much space in this comments section. But once you've seen the pain HPV or cervical cancer can cause, you tend to be angry at obstructionists who try to block common-sense precautions against others suffering this pain.

I'm sure most of this fell on deaf ears, and that's okay. But I don't feel like I can let the cons have the last word on this one, and it takes far more words to intelligently rebut a stupid comment than to make it.

I appreciate your indulgence.

Jamesaust 7 years, 10 months ago

When word gets out that HPV can cause anal and penile cancer in MEN, it'll be like the Mormons after the IRS threatened their tax-exempt status due to their anti-minority practices: a revelation from God that a change in (His) policies allow change in theirs.

gr 7 years, 10 months ago

"This, by the way, is one of the best arguments FOR universal vaccinations - if we pussy-foot around with the virus and allow it continual, repeat exposures for years and years with immunized patients, eventually it will mutate into something the vaccine does not stop. If you have a good, effective vaccine against a disease, you don't "hold back" and "let everyone make up their minds" -- you can't. I don't want my neighbor deciding he wants to be a damn incubation culture for smallpox, or his kids to be one for HPV - I want them both (the diseases) D-E-A-D."

I believe this is mis-information and can't let it pass.

I'd say you don't know how genetics work. Nor do you understand how agriculture works. It's usually impossible to exterminate an organism 100%. The harder you come to achieving it, the better chance of the organism developing resistance.

With these new biotech genetics in agriculture, the farmer is required to set aside a refuge area planted to a non-resistant crop. This is to allow the insect to survive without having a selection pressure. To PREVENT resistance. If there was no alternative, the insect would "develop" resistance (means everything eliminated except for the resistant ones). You don't mean to say the biotech companies don't know what they're doing, do you?

With a disease of people, the number of people, the wide reaches of people, it is extremely unlikely to 100% eliminate the disease. You just as well allow people to have a choice to be the "refuge" population. This will help ensure resistance doesn't build up. Then, when they find out the vaccine doesn't work, causes cancer, or causes some other problems, you won't be so liable for it.

Statements of incorrect information such as yours, whether of ignorance, promoting your profession, or something of a more evil nature, helps give supporting evidence to the idea that something sinister is going on with some pushing for mandatory vaccinations.

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