Now your penis won't cause cancer!
June 8, 2006 8:46 PM   Subscribe

FDA approves HPV vaccine. It prevents infection from 70% of the cancer-causing strains of human papillomavirus, an STD that will affect nearly 80% of the population at some point in their lives. The vaccine has been approved for use in women ages 9 to 26. Controversy surrounding the vaccine (discussed earlier) has thankfully not stopped its progress. That just leaves a few questions: How long will it last? Who's paying for it? What are the side-effects? Oh, screw all that, where do I get in line?
posted by schroedinger (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Bitching about rushing it through after negative side affects discovered coming soon to a site near you.
posted by HTuttle at 8:49 PM on June 8, 2006


There is an interesting thread in AskMe right now on this very subject.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:53 PM on June 8, 2006


Personally, between "pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site and fever" and cancer, I'll take redness and itching please.
posted by schroedinger at 8:54 PM on June 8, 2006


wow, gay marriage amendment, estate tax repeal, and now this. What a week.

What gets me is that we're fighting a headwind of Stupidity in this country, as opposed to progressing like we could.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:06 PM on June 8, 2006


Dear science: Thank you.

HTuttle, why do you think this was rushed?

Seeing that you take the super-conservative side of every argument (but refuse to actually engage in argument), I'm not surprised to see you blasting a drug that could save thousands of lives.....but I'm still interested in a little background research, here. Considering how many cancer cures and vaccines have been shelves due to concerns or trial safety issues, to suppose that this one is 'rushed' without evidence is pretty irresponsible.

Anyhow. On the other hand, this issue is continually painted as a right-left debate, but for the most part, the right wing seems to be in favor (if Free Republic's example is any indicator). Does anyone know of any major right-wing sources that have come out against curing cancer in this case?
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:25 PM on June 8, 2006


It just infuriates me that anyone could oppose this. How could you possibly be more misogynistic? I saw a comment over on Ars Technica, to the effect that 'if HPV caused testicular cancer, the vaccine would already be on the market.'

I should probably write a letter to the FDA thanking them for not caving to the religious groups on this one. Those 'people', and I use the term loosely, because I think they barely qualify as human, basically want to sentence women to die in screaming agony for having sex.

I'm sure Jesus would be completely in favor of that idea. Yeah.
posted by Malor at 9:33 PM on June 8, 2006


Does anyone know of any major right-wing sources that have come out against curing cancer in this case?

Its not that they come out against curing cancer, they come out and say that this encourages women to have sex without consequence (whatever, so few women know enough about HPV to be afraid of it). Its sort of like the gay marriage thing - its not about whether or not marriage is one man and one women (which is how it is framed on the surface), its that being gay is fundamentally wrong and sinful so they should be striped as of as many rights as possible as a roundabout way to discourage the behavior.
posted by SirOmega at 9:56 PM on June 8, 2006


It would appear, though, that only virgins shall be vaccinated. Those women who are already sexually active are ineligible because most such women probably already have it. Still, I'm glad that somebody thought of the children!
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 10:14 PM on June 8, 2006


Now your penis won't cause cancer!

That really cheered me up, thanks.
posted by taosbat at 10:43 PM on June 8, 2006


Since the vaccine is only approved for women -- and currently only very young women -- "now your penis won't cause cancer" is a bit premature.

But yeah, good news. Hopefully within a couple generations, the risk of contracting cervical cancer will become as remote as mumps or polio.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:49 PM on June 8, 2006


"Eventually, boys—who are equally responsible for spreading HPV—will need to get the vaccine, too, though they suffer rarely from penile and anal cancers caused by it."
posted by homunculus at 10:55 PM on June 8, 2006


Bitching on MeFi will begin immediately.
posted by homunculus at 10:57 PM on June 8, 2006


HPV, huh? i remember that. sigh
posted by wumpus at 12:26 AM on June 9, 2006


It would appear, though, that only virgins shall be vaccinated. Those women who are already sexually active are ineligible because most such women probably already have it. Still, I'm glad that somebody thought of the children!

Why? Surely the vaccine is of benefit to anyone who doesn't already have the virus? Surely the presence of the virus can be tested for? The BCG innoculation in the UK that they do on adolescents involves a pinprick test the day before to test whether the recipient already has immunity to whatever the BCG is innoculating against, and those who turn out to be already immune don't get the BCG innoculation. Why can't they do something similar with the HPV vaccine?
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:29 AM on June 9, 2006


Finally, we will see an end to the people bitching about how the FDA wasn't going to approve it because of the religious nutballs. Jeez, people, they're planning to administer this thing nearly universally. Give them some time to make sure it's safe!

I think they'll end up giving this to men too, to prevent genital warts. It's notable in that it's the only STD with a pretty good chance to bypass condoms. I know it's not commonly lethal in men, but it sounds pretty seriously unpleasant.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:07 AM on June 9, 2006


It would appear, though, that only virgins shall be vaccinated.

There's nothing in the linked article about that.
How on earth should that be enforced - hymen examinations?

Those women who are already sexually active are ineligible because most such women probably already have it.

Neither is there anything about being 'eligible' based on sexual experience.
The only reason the vaccine won't be given to women over 26 is that clinical trials for that age group are not yet complete. The reason for that is, I suspect, that it's harder to find test subjects that have not been infected with one of the two virus strains.
posted by spazzm at 3:10 AM on June 9, 2006


Surely the presence of the virus can be tested for?

If you show no physical signs of the virus, no, you're not gonna find it.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:28 AM on June 9, 2006


It is given in three separate shots over a six-month period.

Merck says it has priced Gardasil at $120 a shot.


Well, it's good for me that I'm in a monogamous sexual relationship and have always had normal pap smears because I can't afford that shit!

(Reason #9,824 why I need health insurance yesterday if not sooner.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:18 AM on June 9, 2006


Since the vaccine is only approved for women -- and currently only very young women -- "now your penis won't cause cancer" is a bit premature.

nakedcodemonkey, I'm referring to something a male friend of mine was worried about, namely the likelihood of him unknowingly carrying a cancer-causing strain of HPV and transmitting it to the ladies he is fond of.
posted by schroedinger at 5:42 AM on June 9, 2006


More information on the vaccine from the NYT.

Federal vaccine experts are widely expected to recommend that all 11- to 12-year-old girls get the vaccine, but its reach could be limited by its high price and religious objections to its use.

So, 11-12 year old girls (who I hope to Dog are virgins) who are the children of middle class liberal parents with health insurance are going to get the vaccine.

That's not nearly as exciting as preventing cervical cancer entirely, but I guess it's a start.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:55 AM on June 9, 2006


It will be interesting to see which health care providers opt to cover this vaccine and which do not.
posted by NationalKato at 6:59 AM on June 9, 2006


This is fantastic.

I won't hold out hope for Plan B, however.
posted by agregoli at 7:28 AM on June 9, 2006


nakedcodemonkey, I'm referring to something a male friend of mine was worried about, namely the likelihood of him unknowingly carrying a cancer-causing strain of HPV and transmitting it to the ladies he is fond of.

Yes, I was referring to the fact that he'll still be a transmittor. He won't be vaccinated, and likely most of his partners won't be vaccinated either.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:10 AM on June 9, 2006


Well, it's good for me that I'm in a monogamous sexual relationship and have always had normal pap smears because I can't afford that shit!

That doesn't mean you're not or have never been infected with HPV - normal Paps mean that they have never detected the abnormal cells or cell dysplasia that could indicate cervical cancer, NOT that you don't have HPV.

Paps are not tests for HPV.
posted by tristeza at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2006


(tristeza: I'm well aware, I just meant I don't yet have cancer.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:35 AM on June 9, 2006


So what are we old lady hets supposed to do to not get teh VD?

Only have sex with men who usually date women 26 and under?

Because I can do that. But for the record it's just more age discrimination.
posted by Marnie at 12:20 PM on June 9, 2006


The problem is that HPV is, by any definition of the term, a pandemic with the vast majority of sexually active adults carrying a latent infection. A vaccine is not going to help those adults who already are infected, so the focus is on teens and young adults who have not become infected.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:22 PM on June 9, 2006


Good to see that we're worrying about the important things like not talking about sex instead of trivialities like PREVENTING CANCER.
posted by ryana at 2:47 PM on June 9, 2006


SirOmega, I totally understood what you were saying; that the debate was sex-related and not cure-related. My point stands: Who are these people who are against it? I've found a very, very low number.....as despicable as the right is, they don't seem to be nearly as against this as we keep saying. Straw-man-esque.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 3:23 PM on June 9, 2006


Hey calm down it's just a trial and tje laboratory already stted the price for one shot : $120 bastards
posted by zouhair at 8:42 PM on June 9, 2006


Thank heavens it made it through.
posted by Isabeau Sahen at 10:46 PM on June 9, 2006


I'm sure the same insurance policies that don't cover birth control won't cover this.
posted by QIbHom at 9:24 AM on June 10, 2006


My impression is that most of the religious right did not oppose the approval of the vaccine. What they oppose is making this vaccine "required" in the way most other childhood disease vaccines are. And I'm not sure it's worth fighting that battle, because we already have enough trouble getting every child vaccinized for diseases that are much more easily spread. That is not to say that we shouldn't try and get the use of this vaccine to be widespread as possible, but I do think we don't necessarily have to take the extra step and put it in the same class of vaccines as smallpox, etc. and more or less force people to take it.
posted by spira at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2006


The issue is that women who already have certain strains of HPV could be at an increased risk of cancer if given the vaccine.

So with the information and testing we currently have, the vaccine needs to be given to women who are definitely not infected.

The only way to ensure that we are vaccinating women before they are infected is to vaccinate them before they ever have sexual intercourse.

The best way of ensuring that is to vaccinate very young women, 9-14 years old. Vaccinating girls that young requires their parents' support. That's where religious objections ("My daughter's not having sex!") may trump health concerns, especially since parents with those sorts of objections often have children who experiment with sex earlier, and with fewer precautions, than kids who have had more education about sex while young. But once the girls start having sex, the chances of the vaccine working seem to go down.
posted by occhiblu at 7:34 PM on June 10, 2006


occhiblu: The issue is that women who already have certain strains of HPV could be at an increased risk of cancer if given the vaccine.
So with the information and testing we currently have, the vaccine needs to be given to women who are definitely not infected.


From the article, emphasis mine:
There's no downside to vaccinating women who are infected with the cancer-causing HPV types, he says. "The real question is: Are they wasting their money?"

Stop spreading FUD, you idiot.
posted by spazzm at 4:23 PM on June 11, 2006


I'm sorry that the information I had read seems to be wrong, spazzm, but I see absolutely no reason for personal attacks. WTF?
posted by occhiblu at 5:38 PM on June 11, 2006


Also, there certainly has been discussion about potential negative effects of the vaccine on women already infected:

“There is compelling evidence that the vaccine lacks therapeutic efficacy among women who have had prior exposure to HPV and have not cleared previous infection,” according to FDA’s briefing documents for the meeting.

According to FDA, some analyses suggest Gardasil may enhance cervical disease among a subgroup of patients with persistent infection of vaccine-relevant HPV types at baseline.

Adverse effects for patients already infected with HPV could encourage vaccination at a younger age, before women are likely to be infected.

posted by occhiblu at 5:52 PM on June 11, 2006


And from MSNBC and the AP:

The vaccine may not protect people already infected and may increase their risk of the kind of lesions that can lead to cervical cancer, the FDA has said.
posted by occhiblu at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2006


In other words, you may want to use more than an article from USA Today as back-up before you start tossing around accusations of idiocy.
posted by occhiblu at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2006


From the FDA article occhiblu linked:
Additional efficacy analyses requested by CBER and based on another study (015) did not raise any concern for an increase of cervical disease due to HPV; 42 cases of CIN 2/3 or worse were associated with the use of Gardasil compared to 48 among those treated with placebo.

In other words: The apparent rise in cervical disease (not cancer) for persons already infected is was so worrying that they performed another test, which showed that there was no thing to worry about and the previous apparent risk was due to "baseline deomgraphic imbalances".

Also, not the last part of the msnbc quote you provided: "... the FDA has said. Has said. They are no longer saying it.

I'm sorry if me calling you an idiot offended you, but if the shoe fits...
posted by spazzm at 9:20 PM on June 11, 2006


spazzm, my point is that there has been discussion so it's not like I was making shit up, my info was out of date as opposed to maliciously wrong, a simple correction would have sufficed, and I don't know what your fucking problem is.
posted by occhiblu at 9:24 PM on June 11, 2006


From my perspective it looked like you were making shit up and deliberately spreading FUD about a highly beneficial vaccine. Which lead me to question your motivations for doing so. There are people out there that oppose this vaccine for reasons that are, quite simply, idiotic. I assumed that you were one of them.

If I was mistaken, please accept my apologies.
posted by spazzm at 10:21 PM on June 11, 2006


Yes, well, my first post was an explanation of why kids should get vaccinated, and why the religious right might make that difficult.

In any event, apology accepted.
posted by occhiblu at 10:29 PM on June 11, 2006


Does anyone know of any major right-wing sources that have come out against curing cancer in this case? - dougunderscorenelso

It's NOT a cure for cancer. It can **prevent** certain cancers, but not cure them.
posted by raedyn at 1:15 PM on July 5, 2006


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