Talk. Test. Treat.

April 2016 is STD Awareness month, with the theme “Talk. Test. Treat.” As cervical cancer survivors, you amazing ladies JG-3know all too well the importance of all three components of this drive. Let’s focus on “talk”. TALK floods the media with vaccine “dangers”. Is Gardasil dangerous? Or are the HPV vaccines a chance to eventually eliminate the 33,000 HPV-related cancers that attack Americans every year, including the 4400 women who die from cervical cancer each year? From 2006-2015, over 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the US, which implies at least over 25 million individuals (since it is a 3 shot series.) Adverse events have been scrutinized, including the 117 reports of death in young people who had received the vaccine in the months before their death. No link or pattern can be identified to suggest that the vaccine caused any deaths. Remember, with a population that large, a small percentage will be diagnosed with rare diseases that occur at rates of one in 500,000, or one in a million.

What problems can Gardasil cause? Like any vaccine, there is transient pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the shot. Gardasil is associated with a higher risk of fainting, especially in the first 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

What’s in Gardasil? Can it infect you with HPV? No, Gardasil cannot infect you. The primary ingredient is an empty shell made up from a protein on the outer surface of the virus. Gardasil contains no mercury, no thimerosal, and no live virus.
The adjuvant contains 225 micrograms of aluminum, which is the same amount of aluminum in a liter of infant formula or about six liters of breast milk.

How Effective is Gardasil? The great news is that Gardasil is incredibly effective. CDC reports that Gardasil showed nearly 100% efficacy in prevention of cervical pre-cancers and genital warts in women in young women who receive the vaccine series before they have ever been sexually intimate. In young men (who receive the vaccine before sexual activity), Gardasil is about 75% effective preventing anal cancers, and 90% effective against genital warts. Most of our data is from the original Gardasil, which targets four strains of HPV, so we expect even better results moving forward using Gardasil 9, which targets an additional 5 strains of cancer-causing HPV.

So, Cervivors, it’s great to have these solid facts to educate friends and family who may be swayed by the anti-vaccine “talkers”. But it is YOUR stories that are more powerful than statistics. Join Cervivor Jillian Scalfani and TALK about your cancer. If it’s too fresh or you feel too vulnerable to talk about yourself, share her story. For many Americans, cervical cancer is only a faceless disease, another statistic, and simple to ignore. Cervivors, YOUR “TALK” can raise that awareness and encourage vaccination, making your collective story have the happy ending of a complete CURE for this disease.
SeductiveDelusionsIICover.crop_960x1489_163,75.preview.format_png.resize_200xJill Grimes, MD
Family Physician, Speaker, Author & Educator
[email protected] || ||

From Mother To Mother

I would like to address (without attacking) all the concerned mothers out there who have recently read into all the false information regarding the Gardasil vaccine.

First of all, I would like to say I understand why some mother’s are hesitant to give their children the vaccine. After reading the intent of these articles, who wouldn’t be. But let me reassure you the vaccine is safe and millions of pre-teens receive it every year.

shutterstock_186335381-375x250I feel with so much false information circulating social media it’s easy to believe these stories. For example, I just read an article claiming how Dr. Diane Harper was the “leading researcher” for Gardasil and Cervarix, this information is totally false and also claiming how children don’t need the vaccine. Dr. Diane Harper backs that statement up by telling mother’s across the world that our bodies “can clear the infection in 2 years”.

When actually, researchers don’t truly know if our bodies fight it off completely. We also don’t know why one will develop cancer and another won’t. It’s so dangerous to me that someone with no scientific proof of these alleged injuries caused by Gardasil could urge mother’s to look into the vaccine before vaccinating their children to PREVENT cancer. Let me also remind you, anyone can report a side effect that may have absolutely nothing to do with the Gardasil vaccine. We have to be better advocates for our children, we need to get the facts and not some Internet medical bologna.

I would urge women to go the CDC.GOV / for accurate information regarding the Gardasil vaccine and HPV-RELATED cancers.

PicSayPro$201f50903_101111-picsayI knew very little about HPV, nothing of cervical cancer or all the other cancers HPV can cause. In 2006, I actually denied the Gardasil vaccine because I too was misinformed. Let’s fast forward to 2014, after never missing a Pap smear or ever having an abnormal Pap smear, I was diagnosed with stage 2A1 cervical cancer. I couldn’t believe it, I was so pissed and after all isn’t it preventable with annual Paps? I was so angry, I pulled all my medical records and contacted an attorney right away. How could I? I was healthy and took care of myself, I feel when tragedies happen to us we naturally want to hold someone or something accountable. I now have recurrent cervical cancer and currently, there’s no cure. I would do ANYTHING to protect my children, I would die for my children and coincidentally I’m fighting for my life; for my children. I will be vaccinating both of my boy’s to prevent HPV-related cancers, genital warts and to also protect their future partners.

I too was misinformed and not vaccinated. I would give anything to have Gardasil available when I was a pre-teen. The numbers of HPV infections are dropping, the vaccine works guys so protect your children. Cancer is horrible and HPV doesn’t discriminate.

Please talk to your pediatrician or better yet, call the CDC. Too many people are suffering from the affects of HPV. Get your info from a reliable source and not some hocus pocus on the Internet. Ask yourself why are we denying science and why have we become a generation who is opposed to vaccines that have been saving lives for decades? There is no hidden agenda, vaccines work.

Don’t you want to protect your children from potential cancer? I do…

Jillian Scalfani is a #Cervivor of cervical cancer, not once but twice and she’s currently in remission and her goal is to educate and empower women on the facts of HPV and HPV-related cancers. 

She is a long time Massachusetts resident, mother of two and a hairdresser. She enjoys spending her time with her family and friend’s as each day is a gift and takes nothing for granted.