BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – According to doctors, new strains of cervical cancer are being detected in the Baton Rouge area.
Cervical Cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and it impacts men and women.
There are about 150 strains and 14 cause cancer.
“In 2006, Merck designed their first Gardasil vaccine, they said well let’s cover the most common ones and at that time they were viruses 16 and 18,” said Dr. Beverly Ogden, pathologist and director of research at Woman’s Hospital.
According to Ogden, viruses 16 and 18 caused about 90% of cervical cancer at that time. Seven years later, Merck released a new vaccine that covers 9 strains.
“Eighty-five percent of our pap smears do not show 16 and 18,” said Ogden.
Ogden said this news from the pap smears collected at Woman’s Hospital concerned her greatly. She decided to conduct two studies.
“The top four viruses that we see here were not in the vaccine so we got a little worried about that,” said Ogden.
Ogden explained that she is waiting for the research on both studies, but she hopes to get the findings to the vaccine manufacturer.
“We would like to get that information out and maybe talk to Merck and get that published to see if there could be differences in geographic areas,” said Ogden.
Ogden believes having this open dialogue with Merck will help guide them in the right direction and possibly improve the vaccine.
“They may have other things in the works that we don’t know about and we can help guide them, maybe other studies need to be done, but New Orleans expects they have the same viruses that we do,” said Ogden.
In the meantime, Ogden is waiting to have the research completed. She recommends everyone get vaccinated and tested regularly.
The study will be completed in the next four to six months. Visit womans.org/mywomans for more information.