FDA approves use of Gardasil against anal cancer

Box and vial of Gardasil vaccine.

Gardasil treats cervical and anal cancer – yet not without major controversy. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Photohound/Wikipedia)

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Gardasil, a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, in the prevention of cervical cancer. It was authorized for females up to age 26 and can be used as early as age 9, which created some controversy, as did laws proposed by some states that Gardasil vaccinations become mandatory. Couple that with a series of strange, unexplained deaths that some medical experts have connected to the use of Gardasil, and the latest news regarding the Gardasil vaccine will no doubt stir even greater controversy. Now the vaccine has officially joined the battle against anal cancer, reports CNN.

Gardasil fights HPV

According to the FDA, human papillomavirus is linked to 90 percent of all anal cancers, and the Gardasil vaccine is designed to prevent such cancers and related precancerous lesions from occurring. As Dr. Karen Kidthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told the AP, treatment of anal cancer may be challenging, but using Gardasil as a preventative measure “may result in fewer diagnoses and the subsequent surgery, radiation or chemotherapy that individuals need to endure.”

Tested where the risk is greatest

According to drug manufacturer Merck, Gardasil was tested on men who had same-sex intercourse. The company found that Gardasil was 78 percent effect in preventing infection. As anal cancer is the same disease in both men and women, Merck took the results of the study to mean that it would be equally effective in preventing anal cancer in women, too.

The controversy won’t go away

Judicial Watch, a transparency activist group, is one of many organizations that view the unexplained deaths on record – deaths in otherwise healthy young women, before they took Gardasil as a preventative measure for cervical cancer – and cannot remain silent.

“We would recommend that people go to our website, look at all the vaccine adverse events reporting system reports (VAERS)–FDA’s own materials – and then make their own decision with their doctor,” says Jill Farrell of Judicial Watch.

Sources

ABC News

CNN Health

Judicial Watch

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