Cervical Cancer has been linked to a family of viruses, known as Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. There are more than 30 strains of the virus, one strain called HPV-16 has been found in 50% of Cervical Cancers in women.
Now a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds vaccinating women against HPV-16 is successful in protecting those women against Cervical Cancer. That, after a three year study of more than 2,000 women. Specifically, there were no cases of the virus strain or pre-cancers in women who got the vaccine.
Since it's estimated that nearly 15,000 women are diagnosed with Cervical Cancer every year, researchers say a vaccine that could protect again a known risk factor could have the potential of saving thousands of lives. The only problem, it will take years before the HPV vaccine becomes widely available.
Finally, Phillip Morris is fessing up about its light cigarettes. The company says it is including printed inserts in about million packs of cigarettes sold between now and the end of the year. The inserts warn that smoking so-called 'low-yield' cigarettes has not been proven any safer than smoking regular cigarettes and, that the 'light' cigarettes do not make quitting smoking any easier.
The warnings come about a year after the National Cancer Institute issued a report saying people who smoke light or low tar cigarettes tend to smoke more and inhale more deeply to get the same dosage of nicotine and tar. The report also said that the myth of a 'safer cigarette' actually deters potential quitters and lures new smokers into lighting up. Now those light cigarettes come with a heavy warning.