Lifewatch: HPV

WILMINGTON --  The vaccine Gardasil protects against four strains of the Human Papilloma Virus, known as HPV.

Those four strains account for more than 70% of all cervical cancer cases.

Now, the vaccine is for girls and women between 9 and 26 years old, but soon, more women may be getting the shot.

Doctor Jeffrey Koren has seen hundreds of cases of HPV and said there seems to be more cases every year.

He is thrilled the FDA is reviewing the vaccine for women between the ages of 27 to 45.

"Cervical cancer has no age discrimination. Now women at 45 are just as prone to getting cervical cancer as they are at 26," said Koren.

Doctor Koren recommends the vaccine for any woman who is sexually active.  According to Koren, there is no downside to it.

"Granted the older the woman gets the less her chances of contracting the virus because of her make up and hormonal make up but still she can get it at any age," said Koren.

Be warned the vaccination isn't a cure.

"If you have cancer it's not going to take care of that, it will only prevent you from getting the virus that can cause cancer," said Koren.

Brenda Wilkins has a 17 year old daughter who recently got the vaccine.

"There are good benefits. There's different kinds of strands that you can get from it and it protects them from the most dangerous ones and that's why I did that for her," said Wilkins.

Wilkins believes the number of women who contract cervical cancer will go down if they're able to get the vaccine, and Dr. Koren agrees.

"If they're sexually active and they have more then one partner, it's a good thing to do," said Wilkins.

"I think now it's going to open up the opportunity to protect more women with this preventable disease," said Koren.

Several groups, however, are against the vaccine citing that abstinence, not an injection is the way to prevent cervical cancer.

Other groups are alarmed that the manufacturer of Gardasil, Merck, is pushing this vaccine through without long-term studies on potential side effects.

Reported by Kristy Ondo