Dr Oz: Who Needs to Worry About HPV?
Dr Oz asked Dr Diane Harper to join him for further discussion of HPV, Human Papilloma Virus. She helped develop the HPV vaccine and was able to provide insight.
Dr Harper said that HPV is a little virus that lives in the top of the skin cells in the body. It can literally by anywhere on the body. HPV is also asymptomatic, meaning no symptoms. No bleeding, no pain. That is, until cancer forms.
Dr Oz: Can Men Have HPV?
Dr Jennifer Ashton said that HPV is not just a female problem. Men need to worry about it as well. Dr Ashton wants everyone to be aware of HPV so that it loses the stigma and gets recognized as a public health issue.
HPV can turn your cells into cervical cancer quickly. It could lie dormant for years, so you need to get tested. It’s not one of those things you can see.
Dr Oz: Parents Need to Care About HPV
Another real story about HPV came from Kirk, a father who lost his 23-year-old daughter to cervical cancer. He said that she had all the tests, but HPV testing. He believes that by being proactive with your child’s health can prevent these sad stories.
Dr Oz: Should I Get Gardasil?
Dr Harper developed Gardasil, an HPV vaccine that prevents HPV 16 and 18 from forming. These are the strains most commonly leading to cervical cancer. She said that the vaccine can prevent precancerous lesions.
Girls as young at 9 can get the vaccine, but Dr Harper encourages girls to get it at 15. She said that this way the vaccine is effective during the most “active” years of a girl’s life. There is not a lot of research on getting the vaccine over age 26, but Dr Harper encourages discussing the benefits with your doctor.
Gardasil only lasts 10 to 15 years and does not prevent all cancerous strains of HPV. It’s essential to keep getting checked.
Gardasil Vaccine: Side Effects
I had the Gardasil Vaccine around my freshman year of college, when it became available. I’ve had a lot of shots in my life, but this was by far the worst. I don’t regret getting it by any means, but it hurt like Hades.
Dr Harper said that 75% of women see pain and redness at the injection site. They may feel lightheaded and woozy, and you should stay at the doctors office for 20 minutes after in case you have a reaction. The rare and uncommon side effects happen in 1 out of 1,000 patients.
Again, all I remember is ouch. And a softball sized lump on my arm. I measured it.
Should Gay Men Get Gardasil?
Gardasil has been tested in men, but only for three years. Dr Harper said her son, who is gay, opted to get the vaccine. She isn’t sure if it will help him, but Dr Jennifer Ashton chimed in that the vaccine is FDA approved for men. It could prevent anal cancer.
The researchers hope to get FDA approval for oral cancer prevention soon.