Are There Vaccines That Treat Cancer
There are vaccines that treat existing cancer, called treatment vaccines or therapeutic vaccines. These vaccines are a type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. They work to boost the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Doctors give treatment vaccines to people who already have cancer. Different treatment vaccines work in different ways. They can:
Keep the cancer from coming back
Destroy any cancer cells still in the body after treatments end
Stop a tumor from growing or spreading
What Is Hpv Vaccine
HPV vaccine helps protects against a virus that causes several cancers that can affect anyone. These include cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus in women, or cancers of the anus and penis in men, and possibly throat cancers for both men and women. The vaccine is also effective at preventing genital warts.
- The vaccine works by causing your bodys immune system to produce its own protection against the HPV types most likely to cause cancer or genital warts.
- If an immunised person comes into contact with HPV, the antibodies in their blood will fight the virus and protect them against being infected.
- It usually takes several weeks after vaccination to develop protection against HPV.
Protection from the vaccine is long-lasting and is not expected to wear off over time.
What Is The Hpv Vaccine
The HPV vaccine currently available in the US, Gardasil 9, is the newest iteration of the vaccine. It’s a two-to-three dose vaccine regimen approved for use in all children that protects against HPV infection and HPV-related conditions, according to the CDC. Those conditions include:
- Genital warts
- Cervical precancers
- Cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva
- Penile cancer
- Anal cancer
- Oropharyngeal cancer
Of the more than 150 different strains of HPV, 40 are known to cause cancer. The HPV vaccine approved for use in the US protects against the nine strains responsible for about 90% of cervical cancers, Rebecca Perkins, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine, tells Health.
Something to note: Gardasil was not the HPV vaccine used in the most recent UK study. That was, again, a first-generation HPV vaccine called Cervarix. Because Cervarix was one of the first iterations of the HPV vaccine, it didn’t protect against as many HPV strains. The HPV vaccines in circulation now protect against more strains of HPV, which means they offer more protection, says Dr. Perkins.
RELATED: Cervical Cancer: 9 Symptoms Every Woman Needs to Know
Don’t Miss: Cost Of Tdap Vaccine At Cvs
Who Should Not Get Hpv Vaccine
Tell your doctor about any severe allergies. Some people should not get some HPV vaccines if:
- They have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any ingredient of an HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of HPV vaccine.
- They have an allergy to yeast .
- They are pregnant.
HPV vaccines are safe for children who are mildly ill, like those with a low-grade fever of less than 101 degrees, a cold, runny nose, or cough. People with a moderate or severe illness should wait until they are better.
Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program
The pharmaceutical company that manufactures Gardasil-9 offers a vaccine assistance program to cover the cost of the vaccine itself. To qualify, you must:
- Be between 19 and 45 years of age
- Have no health insurance
- Live in the United States
- Have an annual income at or less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level
Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Tdap Shot At Cvs
Who Should Get Hpv Vaccine
HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 1112 years. HPV vaccines can be given starting at age 9 years. All preteens need HPV vaccination, so they are protected from HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life.
- Teens and young adults through age 26 years who didnt start or finish the HPV vaccine series also need HPV vaccination.
CDC recommends that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine 6 to 12 months apart.
- The first dose is routinely recommended at ages 1112 years old. The vaccination can be started at age 9 years.
- Only two doses are needed if the first dose was given before 15th birthday.
Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, need three doses of HPV vaccine.
- Children aged 9 through 14 years who have received two doses of HPV vaccine less than 5 months apart will need a third dose.
- Three doses are also recommended for people aged 9 through 26 years who have weakened immune systems.
Vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years.
- Some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination for them.
- HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, because more people in this age range have already been exposed to HPV.
What Are The Challenges Of Using Treatment Vaccines
Making treatment vaccines that work is a challenge because:
Cancer cells suppress the immune system. This is how cancer is able to begin and grow in the first place. Researchers are using adjuvants in vaccines to try to fix this problem. An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to improve the body’s immune response.
Cancer cells start from a person’s own healthy cells. As a result, the cancer cells may not “look” harmful to the immune system. The immune system may ignore the cells instead of finding and fighting them.
Larger or more advanced tumors are hard to get rid of using only a vaccine. This is 1 reason why doctors often give a cancer vaccine along with other treatment.
People who are sick or older can have weak immune systems. Their bodies may not be able to produce a strong immune response after they receive a vaccine. That limits how well a vaccine works. Also, some cancer treatments may weaken a person’s immune system. This limits how well the body can respond to a vaccine.
For these reasons, some researchers think cancer treatment vaccines may work better for smaller tumors or cancer in its early stages.
Also Check: Where To Get Tdap Vaccine Cvs
Hpv Vaccination For Men Who Have Sex With Men
Men who have sex with men have not benefited in the same way from the longstanding girls’ programme, so may be left unprotected against HPV.
Since April 2018, MSM up to and including 45 years of age have been eligible for free HPV vaccination on the NHS when they visit sexual health clinics and HIV clinics in England.
Ask the doctor or nurse at the clinic for more details.
How Effective Are Hpv Vaccines
Clinical trials have shown that HPV vaccines are highly effective in preventing cervical infection with the types of HPV they target when given before first exposure to the virusthat is, before individuals begin to engage in sexual activity. HPV vaccines have also been found to reduce infections in other tissues that HPV infects, including the anus and oral region .
Because the cell changes and cancers caused by HPV take years to develop, it has only recently been confirmed that the vaccines reduce the risk of these outcomes as well. Trials and real-world data from population-based studies have now demonstrated that the vaccines greatly reduce the risk of precancers and cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in vaccinated women . A clinical trial of Gardasil in men indicated that it can prevent anal cell changes caused by persistent infection . The trials that led to approval of Gardasil 9 found it to be nearly 100% effective in preventing cervical, vulvar, and vaginal infections and precancers caused by all seven cancer-causing HPV types that it targets .
To date, protection against infections with the targeted HPV types has been found to last for at least 10 years with Gardasil , up to 11 years with Cervarix , and at least 6 years with Gardasil 9 . Long-term studies of vaccine efficacy that are still in progress will help scientists better understand how long protection lasts .
Read Also: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
How Does The Hpv Vaccine Work
Gardasil has been the HPV vaccine used in the NHS vaccination programme since 2012.
Sometime during the 2021 to 2022 academic year, the HPV vaccine used in the NHS programme will switch to Gardasil 9.
Gardasil 9 protects against 9 types of HPV: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. Between them, types 16 and 18 are the cause of most cervical cancers in the UK . Types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 cause an additional 15% of cervical cancers.
These types of HPV also cause most anal cancers, and some genital and head and neck cancers.
HPV types 6 and 11 cause around 90% of genital warts, so using Gardasil 9 helps protect girls and boys against both cancer and genital warts.
HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, and it will not stop girls getting pregnant, so it’s still very important to practise safe sex.
Hpv Vaccination For Transgender People
Trans women are eligible in the same way as MSM if their risk of getting HPV is similar to the risk of MSM who are eligible for the HPV vaccine.
Trans men are eligible if they have sex with other men and are aged 45 or under.
If trans men have previously completed a course of HPV vaccination as part of the girls’ HPV vaccine programme, no further doses are needed.
Recommended Reading: Tdap Cvs
Available Vaccines And Vaccination Campaigns
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil , a Merck vaccine for four types of HPV, in 2006. The FDA approved another vaccine, Cervarix from GlaxoSmithKline, which protects against two high-risk types of HPV, in 2009. A nine-valent vaccine was approved in 2014. All HPV vaccines use just a protein from the shell of certain HPV types: they contain no viral RNA or DNA and so cannot cause disease. The HPV vaccines have been shown to be effective in preventing precancerous cervical changes and precancerous anal changes in women and men caused by high-risk cancer-causing HPV strains. HPV4 and HPV9 additionally offer protection from several low-risk, wart-causing HPV types.
Current U.S. recommendations and guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for HPV vaccination for females and males are below:
The recommended age for HPV vaccination of females is 11-12 years. The vaccine series can be administered as young as age 9 years. Catch-up vaccination is recommended for females age 13-26 years who have not been previously vaccinated.
ACIP recommends routine vaccination of males aged 11 or 12 years with HPV4 or HPV9. The vaccination series can be started beginning at age 9 years. Vaccination with HPV4 or HPV9 is recommended for males age 13-21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the series. Males age 22-26 years may be vaccinated.
Does Hpv Infection Cause Symptoms
Infection with high-risk HPV does not usually cause symptoms. The precancerous cell changes caused by a persistent HPV infection at the cervix rarely cause symptoms, which is why regular cervical cancer screening is important. Precancerous lesions at other sites in the body may cause symptoms like itching or bleeding. And if an HPV infection develops into cancer, the cancer may cause symptoms like bleeding, pain, or swollen glands. Learn more about signs and symptoms of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancers.
You May Like: Cheapest Shingles Shot
What Are The Side Effects Of Hpv Vaccine
Like all medicines, the HPV vaccine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.
How Much Does Hpv Vaccination Cost And Will Insurance Pay For It
Most private insurance plans cover HPV vaccination. The federal Affordable Care Act requires most private insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services with no copay or deductible.
Medicaid covers HPV vaccination in accordance with ACIP recommendations, and immunizations are a mandatory service under Medicaid for eligible individuals under age 21. In addition, the federal Vaccines for Children Program provides immunization services for children younger than 19 years who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured, or Native American or Alaska Native.
Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil 9, offers the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program, which provides Gardasil 9 for free to people aged 19 to 45 years who live in the United States, do not have health insurance, and have an annual household income less than a certain amount.
You May Like: Does Cvs Pharmacy Give Tdap Vaccine
Why Is Hpv Vaccination Important
The combination of HPV vaccination and cervical screening can provide the greatest protection against cervical cancer. Also, HPV vaccination reduces the risk of developing cancers caused by HPV at sites other than the cervix.
Not only does vaccination protect vaccinated individuals against infection by the HPV types targeted by the vaccine that is used , but vaccination can also reduce the prevalence of the vaccine-targeted HPV types in the population, thereby reducing infection in individuals who are not vaccinated . For example, in Australia, where a high proportion of girls are vaccinated with Gardasil, the incidence of genital warts went down during the first 4 years of the vaccination program among young maleswho were not being vaccinated at the timeas well as among young females .
Further evidence that large-scale HPV vaccination confers protection for unvaccinated individuals comes from a 2019 meta-analysis of girls-only HPV vaccination programs in 14 high-income countries that included 60 million vaccinated people . That analysis showed that, up to 8 years after the start of vaccination, diagnoses of anogenital warts decreased by 31% among women aged 2529 years, by 48% among boys aged 1519 years, and by 32% among men aged 2024 years, compared with the period before vaccination began.
Immunizing Agents Authorized For Use In Canada
- CERVARIX® , GlaxoSmithKline Inc. .
- GARDASIL® , Merck Canada Inc. .
- GARDASIL®9 , Merck Canada Inc.
For complete prescribing information, consult the product leaflet or information contained within the product monograph available through Health Canada’s Drug Product Database.
Refer to Contents in Immunizing Agents Available for Use in Canada in Part 1 for a list of vaccines available for use in Canada and their contents.
Recommended Reading: Tdap Shot Cvs
How Much Does The Hpv Vaccine Cost
Each dose of the vaccine can cost about $250. Luckily, many health insurance companies cover the HPV vaccine. There are also programs that help some people without insurance get the vaccine for low or no cost.
You deserve to be healthy, regardless of whether you have health insurance. Talk with the staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center or another nurse or doctor to get more information about ways to make the vaccine more affordable.
What Types Of Hpv Vaccines Are There
Three HPV vaccines9-valent HPV vaccine , quadrivalent HPV vaccine , and bivalent HPV vaccine have been licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . All three HPV vaccines protect against HPV types 16 and 18 that cause most HPV cancers.
Since late 2016, only Gardasil-9 is distributed in the United States. This vaccine protects against nine HPV types .
Also Check: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
The Hpv Vaccine: Access And Use In The Us
The human papillomavirus vaccine is the first and only vaccination that helps protect individuals from getting many different types of cancer that are associated with different HPV strains. The vaccine protects young people against infection from certain strains of HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Since HPV vaccines were first introduced in the U.S. in 2006 there have been changes in the range of protection they offer and the dosing regimen. The vaccines were originally recommended only for girls and young women and were subsequently broadened to include boys and young men. This factsheet discusses HPV and related cancers, use of the HPV vaccines for both females and males, and insurance coverage and access to the vaccines.
How Is Hpv Treated
There is no treatment for HPV. The body usually gets rid of the virus by itself over time, which can take about a year. You will probably need to be re-tested to see if the virus has gone.
If you develop genital warts, your doctor may ‘freeze’ them off or suggest an ointment or cream. Sometimes genital warts need to be removed in hospital.
Cervical and other cancers need to be treated by specialists. Your doctor will advise you on the treatments you need.
Also Check: Does Cvs Have Tdap Vaccine
Does The Hpv Vaccine Protect Me For Life
The vaccine appears to offer long-term protection from HPV. But, even women who have received the vaccine should see their gynecologist regularly for a Pap test to check for cervical cancer. The vaccine doesnât protect against all HPV types that can cause cervical cancer.
If you missed part of the HPV vaccine series, talk to your doctor about getting the missing dose.