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

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

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Gardasil Approved for Anal Cancer Prevention

HPV Vaccine Prevents Anal Cancer in Women and Men
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Dec. 22, 2010 -- The FDA today approved Merck's Gardasil HPV vaccine for prevention of anal cancer in both males and females ages 9 through 26 years.

HPV -- human papillomavirus -- is a sexually transmitted infection. It most commonly causes genital warts, but it also causes several cancers and precancerous lesions.

Gardasil already is approved for preventing cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancer in females, and for preventing genital warts in both males and females.

However, the vaccine is routinely recommended only for girls. It remains optional for boys. Another HPV vaccine, Cervarix, is approved only for cancer prevention in girls.

Anal cancer is relatively rare in the U.S. -- about 5,300 cases a year. However, cases have been steadily increasing.

While men who have sex with men are at highest risk, anal cancer is more common in women than in men.

"Treatment for anal cancer is challenging: The use of Gardasil as a method of prevention is important as it may result in fewer diagnoses and the subsequent surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that individuals need to endure," Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA center for biologics evaluation and research, says in a news release.

In November 2010, an FDA expert advisory panel recommended that the agency approve Gardasil for anal cancer.

HPV vaccines cannot prevent cancer in women or men already infected with the strains of HPV included in the vaccines. That's why the vaccine is most commonly given to girls and boys before they become sexually active.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on vaccination policy, likely will discuss extending routine Gardasil vaccination at its February 2011 meeting.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas