Gardasil Gets OK for Use in Preventing Anal Cancer

5,300 are diagnosed with anal cancer each year
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2010 10:23 AM CST
One dose of the vaccine Gardasil, developed by Merck & Co., is displayed in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)

(Newser) – As the battle rages over Gardasil and its potentially adverse effects, proponents have a new aspect to tout: The HPV vaccine has now been approved by the FDA for use in preventing anal cancer. CNN notes that roughly 90% of anal cancer is tied to HPV; manufacturer Merck determined that Gardasil was 78% effective in preventing anal cancer among men who had sex with men, and says females would see the same benefit.

"Treatment for anal cancer is challenging; the use of Gardasil as a method of prevention is important as it may result in fewer diagnoses and the subsequent surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that individuals need to endure," said an FDA director. The vaccine remains approved for people between the ages of 9 and 26; approximately 5,300 people are diagnosed with anal cancer annually.

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