Against CV (Cervical Cancer)
You all know him: Dr. Drew Pinksy. Yes, he's the guy from that
late night sex talk show, Loveline, which airs from 10Pm- midnight,
Sunday through Thursday. Though he's been working as your "love
Dr." since 1983, and you can still heed pertinent sex advice with
his newer series, 'Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew', he has presently embarked
on a new, more universal series, 'Strictly Dr. Drew (2006)', that
focuses on global issues. In an attempt to further stress the importance
of practicing safe sex and being proactive about our sexual health
and wellbeing, Dr. Drew recently did a special on "Silent Killers"
in which he exposed several shocking killers plaguing American society.
Among those silent killers was the often ignored disease known as
CV, to the medical world, cervical cancer to you and I.
According to a recent article by the Cancer Reference Information
website, and Dr. Drew's special, it is estimated that about 3,700
women will die from CV in just in the U.S., in 2006 alone. An estimated
400 of those deaths are to occur just in the state of California.
In the past, CV has been one of the most prevalent causes of death
for women, particularly American women. Thanks to the Papsmere test,
however, the number of CV deaths in American women dropped 74% between
the 1950's-early 1990's. Though the CV death rate continues to steadily
decline (about 4% a year) in America, it is still responsible for
an (unnecessarily) staggering number of American female deaths.
And, though it "rarely occurs in women younger than 20," that statistic
is gradually being proved wrong, which is likely due to the vastly
increased percentage of sexually active teenage girls. And, yes:
CV is an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
Though minority women such as African American and Hispanic women,
are most at risk, still, there are several other "risk factors"
for females of all ethnic origins. Women who are sexually active,
or who have ever had sex, women who have never had a Pap test, women
who haven't had a Pap in the past 5 years, HIV+ women, and
women who smoke are among those at risk for contracting CV.
But fret not, there may be hope! In June, 2006 the medical world
had one of its biggest breakthroughs, particularly in the female
health and cancer arenas when the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
approved the Gardasil vaccine: a vaccine that will prevent the spread
of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the viral STD responsible for
the development of CV, and other diseases in women. It is expected
that the vaccine will curb more than 230,000 CV deaths worldwide.
Better still, the vaccine also works against the deadly hepatitis
B virus, which is responsible for more than 70% of all liver cancer
The vaccine will protect against four HPV viruses responsible
for 70% of female cervical cancers, and 90% of genital warts. However,
there is a downside for younger women, since, doctors note it is
less effective in younger women already exposed to the HPV virus.
Still, the doctors are taking a proactive approach, and are recommending
the vaccine to all women between 9-26 years of age. *Currently studies
are being conducted to test the effectiveness of the vaccine in
But alas, not only women are at risk. One statistic notes that
approximately 6.2 million people, both male and female, under the
age 25 contract HPV in the US every year. According to the Obstetrics
& Gynecology journal, doctors are urging men to get immunized in
order to proactively prevent spreading the viruses that can lead
to CV to their partners during sexual intercourse. Encouraging young
boys to get the CV immunization is just another way to prevent the
spreading of a deadly STD when and if they choose to become sexually
active. In addition the HP virus also causes genital warts, and
STD contractible by both females and males. Getting young boys and
men immunized would not only reduce the risk of spreading warts
and CV to their female partners, but is also a preventative method
of protecting themselves against genital warts, of which there is
yet no cure, though there are several medications which greatly
reduce the symptoms.
Recently the media has gotten involved with the "beat CV" bandwagon,
launching a CV awareness Ad campaign that involves soundbyte commercials
informing audiences of the risk of contracting CV from the HP virus.
The advancing-awareness method campaign is encouraging young men
and women to "tell someone they love" and encourage conversation
and commitment towards finding a cure and preventing the spread
of the disease. The FDA's recent approval of a CV vaccine is the
first step towards accomplishing the dream.
One of the main concerns surrounding the new "dream vaccine," as
some are calling it, is the fear that encouraging such drastically
young women (that being the 9 year olds) to get vaccinated will
only increase sexual promiscuity in teen and even pre-teenage girls.
Still, doctors are firmly noting that this is just another preventative
measure that ensures that when, and if necessary, girls are protected.
The vaccine doesn't encourage sexual promiscuity, it encourages
awareness of personal health and abstinence by making aware to the
teen public how severe such potential viruses like HPV really are.
It is believed that the vaccine will provide immunity for at least
five years, though time may conclude the vaccine is effective for
longer than that. The vaccine costs $120 per injection, and is administered
via three separate injections over a six-month period (total cost
is $360). Doctors deem Gardasil as completely safe and only note
soreness at the area of injection was the most common complaint.
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