Tag: cervical cancer rates

Did Cancer Research UK Announce an Alarming 54% Rise in Cervical Cancer?

Why do some people think that the Cancer Research UK announced an alarming 54% rise in cervical cancer?

You don't need to be a genius to figure out that this is all anti-vaccine propaganda.
You don’t need to be a genius to figure out that this is all anti-vaccine propaganda.

The usual suspects…

Did Cancer Research UK Announce an Alarming 54% Rise in Cervical Cancer?

The first thing you should quickly see that’s wrong with Bobby Kennedy‘s statement is that 24-29 year olds are not the first generation to get vaccinated and protected with HPV vaccines.

In fact, they would have been the last generation that wasn’t routinely vaccinated and protected!

“The national HPV vaccination programme began offering vaccination to females in England in September 2008 and has recently extended the offer to include males (from September 2019). This programme offers HPV vaccination routinely to males and females entering year 8 of school (aged 12-13 years) and is almost exclusively delivered in schools. There was a catch-up programme in the first 2 years of the programme to offer vaccination to all females aged up to 18 years in 2008.”

Surveillance of type-specific HPV in sexually active young females in England, to end 2018

And next?

“Incidence rates for cervical carcinoma in situ in the UK are highest in females aged 25 to 29 (2014-2016).”

Cancer Research UK on cervical cancer statistics

Know that the rise that has been seen in the UK is in cervical carcinoma in situ and could just reflect changes to their screening program in recent years.

“Screening from age 20 yrs, rather than from age 25 yrs, would not prevent any more cancers from spreading beyond the cervix (stage II or worse) by age 27 yrs. The substantial increase in stage I cervical cancers in 24 and 25 year old women, corresponds to changes whereby a high proportion of women are now screened for the first time between ages 24.5 and 25.5 yrs. Previously some of these early stage screen detected cancers would have been prevented by treatment of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia following earlier screening and a few would have been screen-detected later – at age 26 or 27 yrs. Others may be slow-growing cancers, some of which could be argued to be over-diagnosed.”

Castanon et al on Is the recent increase in cervical cancer in women aged 20–24 years in England a cause for concern?

Fewer people getting cervical screening on time is also contributing to rising rates of cervical cancer.

“Latest figures show less than three-quarters of women invited for cervical screening take it up – and this falls even further in younger age groups and more deprived regions. Cancer Research UK believes this is part of the reason why cervical cancer still affects over 3,000 people each year.”

Cervical cancer progress falters as screening uptake hits record lows

And the study, “Will HPV Vaccination Prevent Cervical Cancer?,” by Claire Rees in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine?

It is a poorly done “review” that has been heavily criticized.

If this is Rees' revision, I'd hate to see what the original article looked like...
If this is Rees’ revision, I’d hate to see what the original article looked like…

Gardasil has a great safety record, with few risks.

The HPV vaccines are eliminating HPV infections among those who are getting vaccinated and protected.

“Over the next decade, as people who have been vaccinated reach the age when they’re most at risk of cervical cancer, disease rates are expected to fall.”

Cervical cancer progress falters as screening uptake hits record lows

Don’t let propaganda about vaccines scare you away from vaccinating your kids, which in the case of the HPV vaccine, could put them at risk to get cancer.

More on Cervical Cancer Rates

Did Japan Ban the HPV Vaccine?

Why do some folks think that Japan banned the HPV vaccine?

Looking at an immunization schedule from Japan, it is easy to see that none of this is true.
Looking at an immunization schedule from Japan, it is easy to see that none of this is true.

The usual suspects…

Did Japan Ban the HPV Vaccine?

But no, Japan never did ban the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine is still on the immunization schedule in Japan and it is actively recommended by the Japan Pediatric Society.
The HPV vaccine is still on the immunization schedule in Japan and it is actively recommended by the Japan Pediatric Society.

What did happen is that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare stopped formally recommending that everyone get vaccinated and protected with the HPV vaccine.

They removed their proactive recommendation for girls to get vaccinated against HPV infections.

Why?

“In Japan, coverage rates for the HPV vaccine have plummeted from 70 percent in 2013 to less than 1 percent today. This happened after a preliminary (and allegedly fraudulent) mouse study showing the vaccine caused brain damage was spread by the media, along with unconfirmed video reports of girls in wheelchairs and having seizures after getting immunized.”

Why Japan’s HPV vaccine rates dropped from 70% to near zero

Sounds like they got Wakefielded

But they quickly reinstated the recommendation though, right?

“To better understand the significance and health impact of the purported adverse symptoms from the HPV vaccine, a national epidemiological study of the general population in Japan was conducted by a research arm of the MHLW. In the research, similar numbers of girls with the same symptoms were reported in both vaccinated and unvaccinated girls.”

Ikeda et al on HPV vaccination in Japan: what is happening in Japan?

After all, all of their investigations found no merit to the initial reports that led to the “ban.”

“In January, 2014, the Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee investigating these adverse events concluded that there was no evidence to suggest a causal association between the HPV vaccine and the reported adverse events after vaccination, but they still did not reinstate proactive recommendations for its use.”

JB Hanley et al on HPV vaccination crisis in Japan

Tragically, they didn’t.

“Suspension of the recommendation for vaccination has continued to the present, despite no scientific or epidemiologic evidence showing a causal link between postvaccination symptoms and HPV vaccines. This situation is unique to Japan.”

Matsumoto et al on Reduction in HPV16/18 prevalence among young women with high‐grade cervical lesions following the Japanese HPV vaccination program

What was the effect?

We have long known that their policy led to much lower HPV vaccination rates in Japan.

And not surprisingly, lower HPV vaccination rates will once again led to higher rates of HPV infections, after years of declines among those who were vaccinated and protected.

Ueda et al showed the Dynamic Changes in Japan's Prevalence of Abnormal Findings in Cervical Cervical Cytology Depending on Birth Year
Ueda et al showed the Dynamic Changes in Japan’s Prevalence of Abnormal Findings in Cervical Cervical Cytology Depending on Birth Year (CC BY 4.0)

And this is all happening in a country that is already seeing increasing rates of cervical cancer, “despite a decreasing trend in most developed countries.”

“We can’t afford to sit back and allow a similar situation to develop in which unscientific claims jeopardize lives around the world. The Japanese government should reinstate its proactive recommendation for the HPV vaccine and set a positive example before irrational fear of the vaccine gains further momentum in other countries.”

Riko Muranaka on Stopping the Spread of Japan’s Antivaccine Panic

The only real questions now are why are they still waiting to reinstate a proactive recommendation in Japan?

“In Japan, the percentage of women getting a cervical cancer screening is low, while the incidence of cervical cancer is increasing. Therefore, the nationwide introduction of HPV vaccination was expected to bring cervical cancer under control.”

Ikeda et al on HPV vaccination in Japan: what is happening in Japan?

And how many people will unnecessarily get HPV infections and cervical cancer until they do?

More on Banned Vaccines

Are Cervical Cancer Rates Rising?

Why do some folks think that cervical cancer rates are rising?

They don't mention this, but most of the 25- to 29-year-olds seeing a rise in cervical cancer rates in The Independent article likely would have been too old to have had an HPV vaccine, as the UK began their HPV vaccine program in 2008, starting with 12 year olds.
They don’t mention this, but most of the 25- to 29-year-olds seeing a rise in cervical cancer rates in The Independent article likely would have been too old to have had an HPV vaccine, as the UK began their HPV vaccine program in 2008, starting with 12 year olds.

The usual suspects…

Are Cervical Cancer Rates Rising?

The HPV vaccines have been around for well over 10 years, having been approved in 2006.

So why haven’t we eliminated cervical cancer yet?

As you hopefully suspect, it is going to take a little time. For one thing, not everyone was on board with getting their kids vaccinated and protected when the vaccine first came out.

Even Jay Gordon has changed his mind about the HPV vaccine and now recommends it to his patients…

But as more and more kids get vaccinated and protected, we should see much lower rates of HPV infections and then lower rates of cervical cancer.

Is that what we are seeing?

“…the prevalence of HPV16/18 in sexually active 16-18 year-old females who were offered vaccination at age 12-13 years has been less than 2% (compared to over 15% prior to the vaccination programme in 2008). In the most recent year, 2018, 10 years after vaccination was introduced, we detected no HPV16/18 infections in 16-18 year-olds (0% of n=584): this shows the programme has succeeded in delivering both direct and indirect protection.”

Surveillance of type-specific HPV in sexually active young females in England, to end 2018

Yes!

“…the prevalence of HPV6/11 in 16-18 year-olds did not decrease until 2018, from 7-10% during 2010-2017 to 4.1 in 2018.”

Surveillance of type-specific HPV in sexually active young females in England, to end 2018

Yes, we are.

The latest statistics in countries with high HPV immunization rates show that there are little or no HPV infections among 16 to 18 year olds, which means that as they get older, they almost certainly won't develop cervical cancer.
The latest statistics in countries with high HPV immunization rates show that there are little or no HPV infections among 16 to 18 year olds, which means that as they get older, they almost certainly won’t develop cervical cancer.

And following lower rates of HPV infections we will see cervical cancer rates eventually drop.

Are they dropping now?

Would you expect them to be dropping much already?

If you look at the chart above, a lot of teens who were 16 to 24 years old between 2010 to 2013 were infected with HPV…

Now if you are not aware, it takes time for those HPV infections to develop into cervical cancer.

How long?

About 10 to 20 years or longer.

“Cervical cancer has a bimodal age distribution with the majority of cases occurring among women in their 30s and 40s the age at which women are often raising families and ensuring the financial viability of their families and communities.”

Luckett et al on Impact of 2-, 4- and 9-valent HPV vaccines on morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer

That means that we are still going to see cervical cancer because of all of the people who were infected with HPV in the pre-vaccine era.

But rates shouldn’t be rising, should they?

“Routine vaccination of girls aged 12-13 years with the bivalent HPV vaccine in Scotland has led to a dramatic reduction in preinvasive cervical disease. Evidence of clinically relevant herd protection is apparent in unvaccinated women. These data are consistent with the reduced prevalence of high risk HPV in Scotland. The bivalent vaccine is confirmed as being highly effective vaccine and should greatly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. “

Palmer et al on Prevalence of Cervical Disease at Age 20 After Immunisation With Bivalent HPV Vaccine at Age 12-13 in Scotland: Retrospective Population Study

In most studies, they aren’t.

We haven’t eliminated cervical cancer, but we are hopefully on the road to getting there. Or we will be if folks get vaccinated and protected.

And women should continue to get Pap tests, as the HPV vaccines don’t protect against all types of HPV infections that can cause cervical cancer.

More on Cervical Cancer Rates