Saturday, 13 August 2011

NHS 'H'arm Against Cervical Cancer

On the front cover of the NHS Arm Against Cervical Cancer leaflet ('the NHS leaflet') that is distributed in doctors' waiting rooms are two arms interlocking in front of the word ‘arm’ which makes it look like it says Harm Against Cervical Cancer, which is possibly more accurate.

Two HPV vaccines are currently on the market for the so-called prevention of cervical cancer in women: Gardasil (manufactured by the US Merck & Co, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world) and Cervarix which is used in the UK and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world.  These vaccines are supposed to protect against the two HPV types of virus (HPV-16 and HPV-18) that cause 70% of cervical cancers, and cause most HPV-induced genital, head and neck cancers.  These drugs have been offered to all girls from 12 to 17 years old for free in the UK from September 2008.  Boys and men in the UK have to pay for them.  They’re being fast-tracked all over the world though.

Now that the catch-up period has passed in the UK, it's probably considered a routine jab for teenage girls here, but hopefully not for long.

These drugs have been shown to be effective (by the manufacturers) for four to six years, yet no booster vaccines are necessary even though these cancers are more likely to develop as a person ages.  How a drug can protect against any disease in the future without taking it repeatedly is something I cannot imagine.  Unlike measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox which mostly affect children and where it therefore makes some sense to vaccinate them in order to avoid these diseases, this is not the case with cancer.

Another point is that it is claimed that the HPV virus is causing these various types of cancer.  However, from what I last heard, scientists do not know what causes cancer!  According to Cancer Research UK, cancer is multifactorial.  In other words, there is no single cause for any one type of cancer.”  At any rate, why would a vaccine at 12 years of age with a 4-6 year effectiveness rate prevent the virus from coming back and causing cancer at the age of 50?  And why is it that pap smears are recommended for those under the age of 64?  Are women over that age all of a sudden immune?  I doubt it.

Another interesting fact is that approximately 80% of cervical cancers occur in developing countries.  The NHS states that around 1000 women die from it in the UK, although the age range is not mentioned.  Meanwhile, there are approximately 31 million women in the UK.  So every young woman has to take a chance on side effects from the HPV vaccine to lessen the chance that a small percentage do not die from cervical cancer.  Side effects include non-serious ones such as fainting, pain, rash, swelling at the injection site (in the arm), headache, nausea, fever, arthralgia, myalgia, asthenia, fatigue and malaise to serious ones such as death, permanent disability, life-threatening illness and hospitalization.  These are many more than listed in the NHS leaflet. This is like advising all young women to take the Pill as a teenager, whether sexually active or not, to avoid unwanted pregnancies in later life (which is not unfounded, but would have other unwanted consequences).  And again, the HPV vaccine does not claim to protect against all cervical cancers.

You might also like to know that the vaccine is assembled from recombinant HPV coat proteins.  Recombinant DNA results from artificial methods in a test tube.  Scientists may have shown that this concoction has the desired effect on the HPV virus, at least 70% of the time, but since it is an unnatural substance, I would question what other effects it is having.  To give an example of my reasoning, take fluoride which is commonly added to toothpaste to prevent cavities, but at the same time is highly toxic to the body.  But none of these issues are mentioned in the NHS leaflet or on its website.

The drugs work by eliciting virus neutralizing antibody responses.  What this actually means I do not know. But somehow they purportedly stimulate the body to deal with these particular viruses before the body becomes infected with them.

The study period of four studies for Gardasil (one US and 3 multinational!) that concluded this vaccine was a necessary addition to every female pre-teenager's life was not long enough for cervical cancer to develop, but because of the absence of cervical precancerous lesions developing, it was believed to be enough.  They used 21,000 women and it would appear that these women were deliberately exposed to the two HPV viruses in order to test the vaccine which wasn't 100% effective. The FDA approval of Guardasil in 2006 was based on Merck & Co agreeing to conduct more studies to evaluate general safety and long-term effectiveness.  Basically, what this means is that you are the guinea pig, and in any event, the results will be non-conclusive in favor of the vaccine.

Another worrying aspect of this s0-called preventative medical treatment is that children don’t need their parents’ consent to get this jab.  They are mostly under the age of consent, so why no consent for this?

The NHS says in its leaflet that it is important to have the three doses of the HPV vaccine because the body’s immune system might not kill off the cancer causing viruses.  Why not just boost the immune system naturally?  That would increase the odds of success of combating this killer better than with the jab, and without any side effects!  After considering the above, you might ask like I do why the government is pushing this test tube substance which is unlikely to do any good, but likely to do harm not just to the HPV viruses but to the health of many young women.