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GARDASIL®

Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Recombinant Vaccine


What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix (the lower part of the uterusUterusThe uterus is a muscular organ located in the pelvic cavity of females in which the fertilized egg implants and develops. It is also called the womb.
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that connects to the vaginaVaginaThe vagina is a 3- to 4-inch tube. Its upper part ends at the cervix and the lower part opens to the outside onto the vulva, the external female genitals.
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). Unlike other cancers, cervical cancer is not hereditary; it is not passed down through family genes. Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by certain types of a virus—human papillomavirus or HPV.

Cervical Cancer—IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT IT

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in females is most common in teenagers and young adults. If a girl or young woman has HPV, and her body doesn’t clear the virus, cervical cancer can develop later in life.

THE LINK BETWEEN HPV AND CERVICAL CANCER

When a woman is infected with certain types of HPV, and the virus doesn’t go away on its own, abnormal and precancerous cervical cellsAbnormal and precancerous cervical cellsAbnormal cervical cells are cells in the lining of the cervix that have changed in appearance. The more severe the cervical abnormality, the more likely it is that cervical cancer could develop in the future.
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can develop in the lining of the cervix. These abnormal cells could be identified through an abnormal Pap testPap testA Pap test, also known as a Pap smear, is part of the gynecological exam and helps detect abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix before they have a chance to become precancers or cervical cancer. Learn more about Pap tests.
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. But if they aren't found early and treated, precancersPrecancersPrecancers are highly abnormal cervical cells that have a high likelihood of becoming cervical cancer.
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and then cervical cancer could develop.

Pap tests look for abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix before they have the chance to become precancers or cervical cancer. In general, the more severe the abnormal cells, the more likely it is that cervical cancer will develop in the future.

Some facts about HPV:

  • Cervical cancer, abnormal Pap tests, genital warts and anal cancer can be caused by certain types of HPV.
  • About 75% of sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection during their lifetimes.
  • Because people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, they can pass on the virus without even knowing it.
  • Anyone is at risk of developing an HPV infection.
  • Men and women have about a 10% risk of developing genital warts in their lifetimes.
  • Limiting your number of sexual partners, using condoms regularly and properly, and vaccinating against 4 types of HPV can all help prevent HPV infection.
Click here to view photo of cervical cancer.

Did you know?

  • In Canada, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women aged 20 to 44 after breast cancer.
  • In Canada, almost 400 women die each year from cervical cancer.*

* GARDASIL® is not indicated to reduce mortality.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT GARDASIL®

In girls and women ages 9 to 45, GARDASIL® helps prevent infection caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 and the following diseases associated with the HPV types included in the vaccine: cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18; abnormal and precancerous vaginal and vulvar lesions, abnormal and precancerous cervical lesions as found in Pap tests, caused by types 6, 11, 16 and 18; and genital warts caused by types 6 and 11.

In girls and women ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL® also helps protect against anal cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18, and abnormal and precancerous anal lesions caused by types 6, 11, 16 and 18.

In boys and men ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL® helps protect against infection caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 and the following diseases associated with the HPV types included in the vaccine: anal cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18, genital warts caused by types 6 and 11, and abnormal and precancerous anal lesions caused by types 6, 11, 16 and 18.

GARDASIL® helps prevent these diseases, but it does not treat them. And just like all vaccines, GARDASIL® may not fully protect everyone who gets it. GARDASIL® does not protect against all types of HPV. Duration of protection continues to be studied. GARDASIL® does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections.

Even if vaccinated with GARDASIL®, it is still important for women to continue having regular Pap tests. Recipients of GARDASIL® should not discontinue anal cancer screening if it has been recommended by a healthcare provider. Vaccination with GARDASIL® is not recommended during pregnancy.

Like all vaccines, GARDASIL® may cause some side effects. GARDASIL® has been shown to be generally well tolerated in adults and children as young as age 9. The most commonly reported side effects included pain, swelling, itching, bruising and redness where the shot was given, fever, nausea, dizziness, headache, vomiting and pain in extremity.

Fainting has been reported. Fainting can occur after vaccination, most commonly among adolescents and young adults. Although fainting episodes are uncommon, vaccinees should be observed for 15 minutes after they receive GARDASIL®.

Allergic reactions that may include difficulty breathing, wheezing (bronchospasm), hives, and rash have been reported.

These were not all the side effects reported. If you notice any unusual or severe symptoms after receiving GARDASIL®, contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Information about GARDASIL® is provided in the Consumer Information. To retrieve this information you will be re-directed to a page within our main Merck Website, which contains the Consumer Information.

Click here to go to the Gardasil® Consumer Information.

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