Dear Media watch
I am frustrated that a high proportion of media outlets and journalist when referring to Prof Ian Frazer state that he is the creator of the words first cervical cancer vaccine – Gardasil. This is NOT correct. He was a co-creator of a VACCINE against 2 and possibly HPVHuman papillomaviruses that may (together with some other as yet unknown trigger) lead to cervical cancer. There are some 40 variations of the virus seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_papillomavirus and many believe that HPV like the common cold mutates and as such there may be many other variations as yet not recognised.
Once again on Sunday morning 31st July I heard an announcer this time on the ABC’s 630 radio program (broadcast In Sydney) at around 0830 refer to Frazer as the creator of a cervical cancer vaccine, as can be seen here this is incorrectly stated http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Frazer . I have two concerns with this statement being repeated – apart from the fact that is totally incorrect, it continues to be perpetuated and as you know repeat things long enough and fact replaces reality – to whit this website from University of Queensland http://www.uq.edu.au/news/index.html?article=8853 which refers to it as a cancer vaccine – IT IS NOT! It gets worse, even Governments are in on the act see thishttp://www.science.qld.gov.au/dsdweb/v4/apps/web/content.cfm?id=15044 But it gets worse still, even the Cancer Council is calling a it a cancer vaccinehttp://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=253
So what are my concerns:
1. Dr Ian Frazer makes no apparent attempt to correct the misimpression that Gardasil is a cervical cancer cure-all. Why, surely a man of his stature and authority would not want his vaccine misrepresented?
2. Young women who receive Gardasil may now be under the false impression that they will never get cervical cancer – but this is not so! There are other strains of HPV that Gardasil does not impact. But even more worrying is the likelihood that many women now believing they cannot get cervical cancer will stop having regular tests and pap smears that could lead to an increase in cervical cancer in the years ahead as this form of testing, follow-up and treatment has been so effective in controlling and bringing down the rates of cervical cancer, as this and many other studies has provenhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7909766
I have noted below an article in the Herald Sun which also refers to it as a cervical cancer vaccine, believe me a brief Google search will show many others.
CANCER expert Prof Ian Frazer is on the verge of a major breakthrough in skin cancer – he hopes to develop a vaccine within a year.
The former Australian of the Year and creator of the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, has developed a world-first strategy to combat the insidious disease that affects two out of three Australians.
Skin cancer vaccine hope
The former Australian of the Year and creator of the world’s first cervical cancer vaccine,Gardasil, has developed a world-first strategy to combat the insidious disease that affects two out of three Australians. “In my lifetime we should be able to…
Gardasil may be a wonder vaccine (the jury remains out), but a cure for cervical cancer it is not and the media and others must stop referring to it as such.