cancer preventionGeneral Cancer InformationUncategorized

Junk Science? Number 1: HPV, cervical cancer and vaccines

Junk Science Number 1: HPV, cervical cancer and vaccines.

October 2011 – The FDA has approved the use of Merck’s Gardasil vaccine in males.

Suddenly, cancer ‘experts’ in medical orthodoxy are rushing to argue that all young males need to be vaccinated before their first sexual encounter, just as they argued with young females. The claim? This will prevent cervical cancer. I have no problem with the FDA approval – HPV is a growing menace and is being passed through sexual encounters. But, please, what is this rubbish about HPV causing all cervical cancer and vaccination of 13 year olds saving thousands of lives sometime in the distant future?

Does Human papillomavirus actually cause cervical cancer?

It is a popular theory amongst cancer ‘experts’, that a virus – the human papillomavirus – causes cervical cancer in women. This has led to mass media coverage and, in my opinion, scaremongering of a huge scale.

I say theory, because that is what it is – it is not proven. Indeed other ‘experts’ have said this theory is ‘madness’. For example, Peter Duesberg and Jody Schwartz, molecular biologists at the University of California, Berkeley back in 1992 noted that there was a total lack of consistent HPV sequences and HPV-gene expression in tumours that were HPV-positive. In simple English, they proposed that ‘carcinogens induced the cancer and the proliferating cells became more susceptible to infection – so the presence of HPV in them is just an INDICATOR of a problem, not the cause’.

This alternative proposition had other support – for example the US National Cancer Institute has also reported that direct causation has not been proven.

Yet in 2008 moves were made in the UK to start a National vaccination campaign in girls before their first sexual encounter. After all this is a vaccine, supposedly to prevent, not a cancer treatment. At schools in the UK and Scotland girls aged 13 were vaccinated en masse, and the decision was left to the girl – in most cases she was allowed to over-rule her parents’ views if she wished. In some schools no choice was even offered.

Cancer charities like Cancer Research UK are on record as saying this vaccination programme could prevent at least 1,000 deaths a year. I think it could prevent at least two world wars and Arsenal winning the European Championship – sorry, I am just exaggerating.

Back to molecular biologists Duesberg and Schwartz: In a controlled study of age-matched women, 67% of those with cervical cancer and 43% of those without were found to be HPV-positive ( So, only two thirds of women with cervical cancer have the presence of the virus anyway – whether it caused the cancer or not!

They also observed that these cancers on average appear 20-50 years after infection.

The vaccines

There are 16 strains of HPV, and two (16 and 18) are linked to cervical cancer. (Yes, I wondered why there are 16 strains and one is numbered 18, too)

Two vaccines are available – Gardasil from Merck, and Cervarix from GSK; the latter knocks out HPV 16 and 18; the former includes a couple of HPV strains as well that ‘are linked to’ genital warts. There is concern in America over aluminium content in Gardasil and it is not recommended for people with an allergy to yeasts, (which is just about everybody).

You will see from these words found on the NCI web site that Merck has now been working with the NCI:

‘On June 8, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a new vaccine to prevent infection from four types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Two of the HPV types targeted by the vaccine (HPV-16 and HPV-18) are responsible for about 70 percent of the cases of cervical cancer worldwide. The other two HPV types (HPV-6 and HPV-11) cause approximately 90 percent of the cases of genital warts. The vaccine, made by Merck & Co., Inc., is based on laboratory research and technology developed at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI played a pivotal role in what holds promise to be a major public health success story. NCI continues to conduct research on HPV and cervical cancer’. So the powers that be are now fully in support.

But elsewhere on their site they state ‘Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) published in the February 28, 2007, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have provided the first national estimate of the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection among women in the United States aged 14 to 59. Investigators found that a total of 26.8 percent of women overall tested positive for one or more strains of HPV’.

So over a quarter of all young to middle-aged women are infected with HPV (or more if you believe the 43 per cent in the Duesbery and Schwartz work). So one has to ask why there are so few cases of cervical cancer (2500 in the UK last year) and even fewer deaths if HPV really is ‘the cause’.

Cervical cancer, like many cancers, has a bias to older women (about half come in the 39-59 age group and a half in the over 60 age group). Moreover, there is a higher incidence of smoking amongst those women who die of cervical cancer and, as we are so frequently told, cancer is our own fault – we drink alcohol, smoke, don’t take exercise, eat poorly and so on.

Let’s have a rain check here – only two thirds of people with cervical cancer have the virus. The virus may not even be a cause, but an indicator. If you are infected with the virus, you have less than a 1 in about 10,000 chance of developing the cancer next year anyway. (Based on a population of about 28 million of the required age and 2,800 cases)

Nevertheless we are told vaccination could save up to a 1,000 lives a year in the UK – 10,000 over the next ten years – 100,000 over the next 100 years. Note the ‘up to’. Who is doing this maths?

Why isn’t the incidence of cervical cancer higher?


Because you have an immune system that has built up over the eons of time to knock out viruses. Some estimates say that a healthy diet can eradicate the virus in 18 months or less. Four American Clinical trials show that Ellagic acid is effective against HPV – the source of Ellagic Acid in the research? Half a cup of raspberries a day.

The claims continue


Consider these quotes from the Cancer Research UK web site:

‘Death rates from cervical cancer have fallen in high-income countries in recent decades, thanks to effective screening programmes, new treatments and HPV vaccination.’ Vaccination only started three years ago – it’s a miracle. Hallelujah!

Then 9th November 2011: ‘The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix “offers excellent protection” against serious cell changes that lead to cervical cancer, particularly when given to young adolescent girls before they become sexually active, according to research published in the Lancet Oncology.

A second study published in the same journal showed that Cervarix also protects against several other cancer-causing HPV types that it’s not specifically designed to target, giving protection against a group of strains that together cause about 85 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. (So it does things no one knew it could do? One wonders what else it is capable of)

Cervical cancer affects around 2,800 women each year in the UK, and is the second most common cancer in women under 35.

Virtually all cases are linked to genital infection with HPV, the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. In the UK, girls in year 8 at school (aged 12 to 13 years) are offered the Cervarix vaccine.’ Note ‘linked to’, not ‘caused by’. Note also  ‘offered’.

So I read the original research for you. It says that the most difficult-to-study precursor to cervical cancer is CIN3. The researchers studied 15-25 year old girls with less than 6 sexual partners during their lifetime. (!)

The efficiency of Cervarix against CIN3+ associated with HPV-16/18 was 100%, but in the group that had had no trace of HPV before the trial it was not 100 per cent but  45·7%.

On the issue of age, in the total vaccinated group, vaccine efficacy against all CIN3+ and CIN3+ associated with HPV-16/18 was highest in the 15—17 year age group and progressively decreased in the 18—20 year and 21—25 year age groups. Had they taken 45 year olds there is no knowing how low this figure might have been.

The Business of vaccination

The above was a 4-year trial. There is no evidence on how long these vaccines are even protective for. There is a growing ‘argument’ from cancer ‘experts’ that women may need to be re-vaccinated every 5 years (although the above research seems to question that theory). All for a disease, that could actually be caused by other factors, and may well not appear for 20-50 years.

Then there are boys. We have covered stories in Cancer Watch where cancer ‘experts’ at CRUK were arguing for vaccination of boys because they were carriers of HPV. But even to the layman, a boy’s biochemistry must surely differ from a girl’s. But now those ‘opinions’ have some research behind them. And based on Clinical Trials, ‘the The FDA advisory has approved the use of Gardasil in males to prevent genital warts. Genital warts are flesh-toned or gray, raised or flat growths that appear on, in, and/or around the genitals. They can grow in clusters that resemble cauliflower, or they can appear singularly. In males, they can appear on the penis, scrotum, testicles, anus, groin, and thighs’.

This is quite clear – but also clear is that there is no mention of cervical cancer. In fact the Press release actually says ‘In most cases, there is no major health risk associated with genital warts; they do not cause cancer or even result from the same strain of HPV known to cause cancer’.

But the euphoria is unstoppable. In the New York Times article covering the approval it states, ‘The committee recommended that boys ages 11 and 12 should be vaccinated. It also recommended vaccination of males ages 13 through 21 who had not already had all three shots’.

Further on in the article is a quote from another cancer ‘expert’: “This is cancer,  for Pete’s sake,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a non-voting member of the committee. “A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth.”

Sorry, did I miss something? Where does it say this is a vaccine against cancer?

In America a National Compulsory Vaccination campaign for girls was turned down under a barrage of lobbying by Human Rights supporters. One issue already in the vaccination of males has been that of homosexuality.

In the UK, the Government has taken flack for approving the cheaper and less effective vaccine, Cervarix – it did not claim to cover genital warts. But Merck is coming to the rescue.

This is a mass-market opportunity. Every boy and girl vaccinated, say, every 5 years from age 12 – 50 in the UK adds up to 2 billion pounds per year of revenue.

And, hey, stop talking about a paltry 1,000 deaths a year in the UK. There’s the world to play for. Right on cue we find the CRUK web site stating A new commitment (sic) to lower the price of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for developing countries could help to prevent thousands of cases of cervical cancer in these nations.

The vaccine offers protection against the most common strains of HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Merck, which manufactures the HPV vaccine Gardasil, has now agreed to sell the vaccine at a significantly reduced price to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), a public-private global health partnership that aims to increase access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries.

GAVI will now be able to purchase the HPV vaccine at US$5 (about £3) per dose – 67 per cent lower than its usual cost.

The move should help to prevent cervical cancer deaths around the world, 88 per cent of which occur in developing countries’.

Merck has offered to lower its prices by a staggering 67 per cent per shot of vaccine. Can you imagine that in any other market? A Mercedes E class for just £6,000? A gold Rolex for £3,000?

So it’s time to make your own minds up. The earth spins round the sun, or the sun round the earth? Junk science supported by scaremongering, profit potential, selective research, non-scientific extrapolation from a virus infection to a ‘proven cause of cancer’ 30 years hence; or a genuine belief that vaccines are definitely going to eradicate cancer on a worldwide basis?

By the way, Merck is still lobbying to make Gardasil vaccinations mandatory. And the Texas Governor, Perry, who may run for President has voiced support. Merck is also the company that bought the world Vioxx.

My original article for CANCERactive is at Cancer


Back to top button