Where in health am I? : Home > Health Cloud > Conditions > Cancer > Cancers > Cervical


Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment - you just have to be willing to take it - Emily Hollenberg

In the early 1970's, HPV received a great deal of media attention when Harald zur Hausen first postulated its ability to cause the second most common cancer in women...cervical cancer. Since then, Hausen's discovery has changed our conventional thinking about what causes cancer, as well as helping create the first cancer vaccine as well as reinvigorating ongoing immunotherapy cancer research.

But, at the same time the HPV vaccine brings its own controversies to the table, especially whether it is really effective and when and who should be vaccinated.

Experts have questioned the effectiveness of HPV vaccine in cervical cancer. The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine Jeffrey M. Drazen and coauthors noted that the effectiveness of HPV vaccine is “limited by at least these two factors.” “First, not all cervical cancer is caused by HPV-16 or HPV-18 [these are the HPV types present in HPV vaccine], and second, it appears necessary to vaccinate young women before they are infected with these two serotypes,” Drazen and coauthors wrote. “Also, whether this approach will extend the paradigm of vaccination to the prevention of death and disability from cervical cancer is an unanswered question”.

But, who gets the HPV vaccine has become the overriding issue, especially if its your kid! Because HPV is an STD, routine vaccination is recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls. And overall per the CDC "HPV vaccines are recommended for all teen girls and women through age 26, who did not get all three doses of the vaccine when they were younger." Obviously this has created quite an uproar especially in North America.