'Major Breakthrough': FDA Approves Cervical Cancer Vaccine

The recommendations of the ACIP are important since doctors practicing in the U.S. should follow them.

However, "no law says that they have to," Allen said.

Parents Speak Up

Dr. Cynthia Rand, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester, interviewed about 30 parents about HPV vaccines, such as Gardasil (other drug companies have similar vaccines in development).

Even though most supported these vaccines for adolescents, Rand said "a few parents, the minority, were completely against the vaccines [for their children]. A few parents felt that their children were raised in a Christian manner and would not be having sex until they were married."

In response to such concerns, Dr. Mark Groshek, a pediatrician in the department of pediatrics and health Connect at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said, "My approach with parents will be to say upfront to them, and to their daughters, that we are not suggesting girls should become sexually active at a young age."

Not all parents or faith groups feel as strongly as those select parents from Rand's study. The Family Research Council, an organization that "promotes the Judeo-Christian world view as the basis for a just, free and stable society," welcomes the news of such vaccines as Gardasil.

"We strongly encourage the health care community to clearly communicate the medically accurate fact that only abstaining from sexual contact with infected individuals can fully protect someone from the wide range of sexually transmitted diseases," said Moira Gaul, a policy analyst for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

Some doctors also said they agreed with the practice of abstinence to avoid exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

"I will encourage parents to be involved with their [kids], and to encourage their delaying sexual debut. That is the best way to prevent STIs [sexually transmitted infections], including HPV," said Dr. J. Zanga, professor of pediatrics at Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

In the end, the vaccine may prove more useful in poorer nations where cervical cancer is still a big problem because most women don't have access to preventive health care like Pap smears -- the main way to detect cervical cancer.

"In many developing countries, the burden exceeds, by far, the approximately 4,000 annual deaths from cervical cancer in the U.S.," said Dr. Samuel Katz, of the department of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center.

These countries "do not have the screening programs … to detect and eliminate early infections and their cytological changes that reveal HPV infection."

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