Dr Oz: HPV Vaccination
Dr Oz spent his show talking about HPV cancer risks, HPV Pap Testing, and other HPV questions from viewers who wanted to know more about their risks. Find out about the Gardasil and Cervarix HPV Vaccines and the ages of patients who should get them.
Many people wanted to know more about the HPV Vaccine, which is often a hot topic in health policy. Audience member Kirk lost his daughter four years ago, at age 23, to Cervical Cancer. She was diagnosed shortly after graduating from college and died of cancer within a year.
Dr Oz: HPV Vaccine for Parents?
Kirk thought about many things during the year his daughter was dying. She’d had a pap smear 18 months earlier that was fine. He hopes parents will educate themselves about testing options and information.
He suggested that parents carefully consider the vaccine. “You’re playing Russian roulette with your children’s life if you don’t,” Kirk said.
Dr Oz: Cervarix vs Gardasil Vaccines for HPV
Dr Oz turned again to HPV expert Dr Karen Harper for her thoughts on the available HPV vaccines. She said that studies have concluded that the Gardasil and Cervarix HPV vaccines effectively prevent HPV-16 and HPV-18, the two types most commonly associated with Cervical Cancer.
It can prevent the virus as well as resulting precancerous lesions. Dr Harper said it’s hard to know so far how long the vaccines may last, but doctors currently think they can protect you for 10-15 years. They also don’t protect against all the types of HPV that cause cancer.
When Should I Get The HPV Vaccine?
“It’s important for women to realize that vaccines are an option,” she said. But once again, she recommended screenings and acting immediately on any abnormal symptoms. Early detection of cancer gives you the best ammunition to treat and hopefully cure it.
Dr Oz said that children as young as age nine qualify to get the vaccine. But Dr Harper said since we don’t know yet how long vaccines are effective, she would wait to have her kids vaccinated by age 15.
Am I Too Old to Get the HPV Vaccine?
But you can get the vaccination up to age 26, so patients can wait and choose to get vaccinated when it’s right for them. Dr Jennifer Ashton said that women can also discuss “off label use” with their doctors if they are over a certain age.
The problem is that there is limited data about how well the vaccine would work for older women. Dr Oz said he is concerned about some of the side effects.
Dr Oz: HPV Vaccine Side Effects
Dr Harper said that 75% of women who have the vaccine will experience immediate pain, swelling and redness after receiving the injection. She said patients are encouraged to sit down for about 15 minutes after getting the shot.
Some rare or uncommon side effects are “not considered significant for the CDC” or manufacturers to report. She said that getting the vaccine has benefits and risks, and it’s an individual decision.
Dr Oz: HPV Vaccine for Gay Men?
Dr Harper revealed that one of her sons is gay, and he decided to get the vaccination, because he is in a high risk group for contracting genital warts or anal cancer. But she said she informed him that there is limited data about the efficacy in men.
She also said that two years after the vaccine, its anti-cancer protections drop off significantly, so it may not be effective. It seems like there is a whole lot more we need to learn about HPV treatment and prevention.
Dr Ashton said the vaccine is FDA approved for male patients and anal cancer prevention. She said an FDA approval for oral cancer prevention may happen soon.
Dr Oz HPV Web Chat Tonight
Dr Oz concluded the show with some final thoughts about HPV. He suggested that women ages 30-65 should ask about HPV during their next doctor’s appointment. He recommended B vitamins, and reminded everyone that quitting smoking can improve your health.
If you have more questions surrounding HPV, you can check out a web chat on Dr Oz’s website.