We, at Woman to Woman Clinic would like to educate our community regarding the Gardasil vaccine. We support our Emmet County Public Health Department in the education of our children in regards to Gardasil vaccine.
Gardasil is about the protection and prevention against cervical cancer, not promiscuity. We feel very strongly that parents encourage their children to make good choices, but as we all know, that doesn't always happen.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the 3rd most common type of cancer in women.
Cervical cancer usually develops very slowly and starts as a precancerous condition known as dysplasia.
This condition can be detected by a Pap smear and is 100% treatable.
For this reason, it is so important for all women to get regular exams, and be screened for HPV. Most women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer today have not had regular Pap smears or have not followed up with their health care provider when they have had abnormal results.
Undetected precancerous changes can develop into cervical cancer and spread to the bladder, intestines, lungs, and liver. It can take years for precancerous changes to turn into cervical cancer. Each year, health care providers diagnose 12,000 women with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 of these women will die from this preventable disease. We can't stress enough that cervical cancer is 100% preventable.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual intercourse.
There are many different types of HPV, some strains lead to cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, and anal cancer, and other strains may cause genital warts, while other strains do not cause any problems at all. Approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. Another 6 million people will become newly infected each year.
HPV is so common that at least 50% of men and women will become infected at some point in their lifetime. Approximately 60% of men ages 18 to 70 carry the virus. A little known fact, even people with only one lifetime partner can get HPV.
Gardasil is the first approved vaccine targeted specifically to prevent cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancer. It is available for women as well as men. It is recommended that that men and women get the vaccine between the ages of 9 and 26.
For the vaccine to truly take effect, they recommend that both men and women get the vaccine before they become sexually active to boost their immune system. Gardasil is simply a vaccine given to both men and women to help prevent cervical, vaginal, anal and vulvar cancers. Statistically, 98% of the women who receive the vaccine will be protected from the most common types of HPV, if they receive the vaccine before they ever get the chance to obtain the virus.
In closing, our main goal should be that no woman be diagnosed with cervical cancer because of the lack of education.
Society needs to become fully aware that Gardasil is the only vaccine that prevents cancer, this is ultimately about health promotion and disease prevention.
Yours in health,
Krystie Brashear A.R.N.P.
Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
Woman to Woman Clinic, Estherville, IA