Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cervical Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Benefit Lasts

Studies Show Long-Term Protection From Gardasil and Cervarix
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 17, 2007 (Los Angeles) -- Two vaccines for preventing cervical cancer, one that is already available and another that is undergoing FDA review, continue to offer nearly 100% protection five years following administration, new research shows.

The findings come at a time when use of the vaccines is being hotly debated, with states grappling with the issue of access to a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease.

Darron R. Brown, MD, professor of medicine, microbiology, and immunology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, says the durability of the protection is an important issue.

"Right now, the data suggest strong sustainability with either vaccine. We don't know if a booster will be needed, but from what we're seeing, I think the vaccines will provide protection for a lifetime," he tells WebMD.

The vaccines were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Cervical Cancer Vaccines Target HPV

Both vaccines protect against cervical cancer by preventing infection with two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) -- 16 and 18 -- that are responsible for up to 70% of all cervical cancers.

Gardasil, the approved vaccine, also targets HPV 6 and 11, which account for 90% of genital warts -- providing the woman has not been previously exposed.

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, with dozens of strains.

The University of Louisville's Stanley Gall, MD, who tested Cervarix, the vaccine under review, predicts it will be approved soon. Then it will be up to each person to decide which one fits her needs, he says.

"They're both wonderful products and the family and their doctor will have to decide which is best," he tells WebMD.

Gall says that younger people are more likely to develop genital warts, so they might decide to opt for the additional protection offered by Gardasil.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Debate Heats Up

The big, looming issue will not be which vaccine to get, but whether to get it at all, he says. "If we don't get it into people, they won't benefit," he says.

The FDA approved Gardasil for girls and women aged 9-26. The CDC recommends the vaccine to girls 11-12 years old, but it can be given to girls as young as 9. The CDC also recommends it for 13- to 26-year-old females who haven't already received or completed the vaccine series.

Today on WebMD

cancer cell
HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
doctor and patient
Get to know the Symptoms.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
Screening Tests for Women
what is your cancer risk