Monday, 30 July 2007

GARDASIL dilemma

I've booked an appointment with the University of Sydney Health Services to get the GARDASIL injection tomorrow at 1500 hours.

I decided to do some research on GARDASIL, it being a newly marketed vaccine. While on one hand I want to get vaccinated free-of-charge, I prefer to be an informed white mice rather than a blind mice. :P

Being the IT-literate person that I am, I did a Google search of Australian websites on GARDASIL, and searched through articles on MEDLINE.

One of the search hits on Google was an article titled "Beware Gardasil". It didn't sound as if the author was an advocate of the vaccine.

Sure enough, the author aimed to inform readers of the myths surrounding GARDASIL, and the myth of a direct causal relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer (GARDASIL vaccinates against HPV).

One of the interesting facts was that the author claimed that the U.S. National Cancer Institute stated "that direct causation" (HPV and cervical cancer) "has not been proven", with no reference cited for that statement. I found it strange that the Australian Health Department states otherwise, and has been prepared to spend millions of dollars to fund the vaccination programme.

I searched the U.S. National Cancer Institute for such a statement; I found this instead:

"What is the association between HPV infection and cancer?
HPVs are now recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer. In 2006, an estimated 10,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with this type of cancer and nearly 4,000 will die from it. Cervical cancer strikes nearly half a million women each year worldwide, claiming a quarter of a million lives. Studies also suggest that HPVs may play a role in cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, and some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle part of the throat that includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils) (1). Data from several studies also suggest that infection with HPV is a risk factor for penile cancer (cancer of the penis)."

Interesting indeed. Not only is HPV recognised by the National Cancer Institute of the United States of America as the major cause of cervical cancer, it is also suggested to play a role in other cancers as well.

I wonder how much research the author has done before writing up that article.

Inform yourself indeed. It only emphasises the fact that you can't trust everything that you hear, read, see, a fact that the author harped on.

As for me? I'm taking Jen's stand on GARDASIL: she went ahead and had the vaccination.

Tune in for more adverse effects on the vaccine after I've had the injection. ;)



jj said...

Do you have Medicare card? How do you get your vaccination funded? Just like claiming back from Healthfund?

Yee-chan said...

I do have Medicare.

All I did was just to book an appointment at the University Health Services.

General practices have stock of GARDASIL, and we don't need to pay for the injection, only the consultation fee if there's no bulk-billing, isn't it?

At least, that was my impression. >.<

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