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Pⁿ Blog
The Pⁿ Blog is a forum for opinions, questions, controversies, and instructive discussions across the field of pathology and its relevant subspecialties.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Vaccinate!!
For the last six weeks or more I've been spending most of my spare time organizing a move from our old house west of Charlottesville to smaller one east of town on a farm; a great location for my eventual retirement (whenever that may be!).  The amount of stuff one accumulates over 30 years, especially if you have hoarding tendencies as I do, is really depressing!   We'll get there though, eventually! 
 
With my brain definitely preoccupied I must admit that blog topics have not been springing easily to mind, but then this morning I spotted an important and very timely one.  The National Center for Health, CDC, and allied national organizations published data today showing that HPV infections in teenage girls have fallen by more than half (56%) since the introduction of the HPV vaccines in 2006! 
 
When you consider that only about a third of girls 13-17 years of age in this country have had the full course of three vaccinations, a number that is shamefully low and below many other countries including third world ones like Rwanda, this is a truly amazing statistic and points to the extreme efficacy of this vaccine.  The article dealing with this appeared in on-line advance access today from the Journal of Infectious Diseases.  An internet link to the full text is hereif you can get appropriate access.   
 
This story is just now hitting the lay press and it was actually an article on NBC News that sent me looking for the primary source.
 
Both the original article and the news article above make for very interesting reading.  That only one-third of eligible girls and very few eligible males have been vaccinated for HPV in this country represents in large part a triumph of ignorance and silliness over science and reason.  We should all do our part to encourage friends and family members with adolescents to get this extremely effective anti-cancer (and anti-wart) vaccine.  The vaccine is extremely safe and highly effective, even more so than was originally thought.  Tom Frieden from the CDC has calculated that if 80% of the population were vaccinated in this country, 50,000 lifetime cases of cervical cancer could be prevented.  For every year we delay in achieving that goal 4,400 more women will develop cervical cancer during their lifetimes. 
 
To have a true, highly effective anti-cancer vaccine is, or should be, mind boggling.  To not take advantage of it is beyond comprehension.
6/22/2013
Dr. Gerson Paull said:
If blog topics don't always easily spring to mind, please consider allowing readers to submit "guest blogs" for your approval and publication. Gerson Paull, M.D. Atlanta, GA (Dr. Mills: You're always welcome to send me an e-mail about a topic you'd like to blog on. Of course, I reserve the right to approve and edit. Thanks!)
About the Author

Stacey E. Mills, MD
Stacey E. Mills, MD, a graduate of University of Virginia (UVA) and the UVA Medical Center, has authored nearly 230 articles, 20+ books, atlases and monographs—including the renowned Sternberg's Diagnostic Surgical Pathology. He has been a practicing Professor and Staff Pathologist at UVA for 30+ years and is Director of Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology. His clinical specialty is general surgical pathology with emphasis on neoplasms and neoplasm-like lesions. Dr. Mills is also Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Surgical Pathology.