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Cervical Cancer Vaccine Q&A

What You Need to Know About Gardasil, the Newly Approved Cervical Cancer Vaccine


Merck is a WebMD sponsor.

8. Is Gardasil safe?

Reports from clinical trials, to date, show Gardasil to be safe.

9. Will Gardasil protect women from cervical cancer who've already been exposed to HPV?

Gardasil is not designed to protect people who've already been exposed to HPV.

10. Will the new vaccine eliminate the need for cervical cancer screening?

No. Gardasil doesn't protect against all causes of cervical cancer, so screening (such as the Pap test) will still be needed. Screening is essential to detect cancer and precancerous lesions caused by other HPV types. Screening will also continue to be necessary for women who have not been vaccinated or are already infected with HPV.

11. Are there other cervical cancer vaccines?

Gardasil is the first cervical cancer vaccine to be approved. In fact, it's the first vaccine to protect against a risk factor for a cancer. Another cervical cancer vaccine, called Cervarix, is also in the works. It's expected to be submitted for approval by the end of 2006.

12. How many people get cervical cancer and die from the disease?

About 9,710 cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2006, predicts the American Cancer Society.

About 3,700 U.S. women will die of cervical cancer in 2006, according to the American Cancer Society.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths for women. According to the FDA there are 470,000 new cases and 233,000 deaths each year.

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