Should you vaccinate your early adolescent children for HPV, or human papilloma virus? The answer has been yes for some time, but now, as Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week, a study in Pediatrics has shown convincingly that young women who are vaccinated experience far fewer HPV infections than those who aren't vaccinated, and that translates down the road into fewer precancerous lesions and frank cancers of the cervix.
Researchers crunched data from NHANES, that nationally representative, ongoing study of many of our health habits, and found that the rate of infection with HPV dropped by 64% in young women 14 to 19 years of age. The drop was seen in the 4 specific types of HPV covered with the vaccine but not in other common types. Rates of infection among older cohorts with less vaccine coverage experienced commensurate drops. Rick and I agree that this is proof positive that the vaccine eliminated infection with HPV, which is known to cause cancer. Clearly those parents who'd like to prevent cancer in their children, boys as well as girls, should have their children vaccinated. Now the HPV vaccine provides coverage against 9 types of the virus so is even more effective in preventing cancers. No more excuses, we say.
Other topics this week include a step down in ovarian cancer treatment and discontinuing aspirin before cardiovascular surgery in NEJM, and how acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS is managed worldwide in JAMA. Until next week, y'all live well.