Nobel Laureate Makes Strong Case for Vaccinating Young Males Against HPV to Prevent Cervical Cancer in Females

Mar 26, 2012, 09:18 ET from Society of Gynecologic Oncology

AUSTIN, Texas, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen called for vaccinating both young males and females for human papilloma virus (HPV) in an achievable quest to eradicate cervical cancer, which is the second leading type of women's cancer worldwide. Zur Hausen made his remarks at a gathering of more than 1,600 members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology during its 43rd Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer® in Austin.

"If we wish to eradicate these types of infections – then theoretically we can do it," zur Hausen said. "And if we wish to achieve this (eradication of HPV) in a foreseeable period of time, then we should vaccinate both genders globally."

He pointed out that educational, cultural and religious barriers contribute to the lack of knowledge or willingness to address or discuss the subject by public health officials, teachers, parents and even some physicians.  Zur Hausen also said that if society were to vaccinate just one gender to prevent the spread of cervical-cancer causing HPV, it would be more effective to vaccinate just males, highlighting the potential medical value of male HPV vaccinations. Zur Hausen also noted that research shows that early fears of the side effects of the HPV vaccine were overblown, and Australian research shows that there is about one adverse reaction in 100,000 vaccinations, which confirms the safe nature of the vaccine.

Keynote speaker for this year's Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, Harald zur Hausen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 for his pioneering discovery of the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in the development of cancer of the cervix.  He currently is professor emeritus, after having served as Chairman of the Management Board and Scientific Director of the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

Zur Hausen said approximately 275,000 women die each year of cervical cancer, some 85 percent in economic-constrained countries, with more than 500,000 new cases appearing in women globally each year.

About the SGO
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is a national medical specialty organization of physicians and allied healthcare professionals who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract. Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge that will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies, and cooperating with other organizations interested in women's health care, oncology and related fields. The Society's membership, totaling more than 1,600, is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related medical specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers and pathologists. SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care.  More information on the SGO can be found at

For more information:
Jessica Oldham, 312-676-3903
Greg Leaf, 651-271-2511

SOURCE Society of Gynecologic Oncology