HPV Vaccine: Good News, Bad News
Vaccine Stops 2 Cervical Cancer Viruses -- but Only 'Modest' Overall Cancer Protection Seen
WebMD News Archive
Different Experts, Different Opinions continued...
Smith-McCune is associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the
University of California, San Francisco. She's also the mother of two
"I am not having my daughters vaccinated because the proven method of
reducing their risk with regular Pap screening is very effective," she says.
"In the absence of safety and efficacy data in the 11- to 12-year-old age
group, and the unknown long-term effect of this vaccine in all age groups, it
is too soon to recommend this vaccine."
Gynecologist Brian Slomovitz, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New
York, disagrees with Smith-McCune. He says that even with regular Pap
screening, many young women will have to have precancerous cervical lesions
removed -- procedures that may result in pregnancy complications.
"Cervical precancers are a big problem, and genital warts are a huge
problem," Slomovitz tells WebMD. "The ultimate value of the HPV vaccine is to
reduce deaths due to cervical cancer, but it is also valuable for preventing
high-grade cervical lesions and genital warts."
Ault agrees with Slomovitz.
"These studies are further proof that what we recommended last year was a
good idea: This vaccine should be given to women age 9 to 26," he says.
Smith-McCune insists that too many questions remain about the HPV vaccine to
recommend widespread vaccination of girls and young women.
"It is important to counter the sense of urgency of vaccinating the girls
with the fact that cervical cancer is not an emergency in the U.S.," she says.
"Any improvement that will reduce a woman's risk of cervical cancer is a great
thing. We just don't have enough data to support that yet. The studies are
ongoing. We have a lot to learn about the impact of this vaccine on precancer
and cervical cancer."