Cancer is a nearly universal health concern in our lives; it would be difficult to find anyone whose life has not been touched by the disease, in all its various and horrifying forms. This year alone, the American Cancer Society reports that 1.6 million people in the U.S. will develop cancer, and nearly 600,000 will die from it.[i] HPV, or the human papillomavirus, causes an estimated 19,000 of those cases in women, and just under half that in men.[ii] HPV is a common disease transmitted through sexual contact, which is usually known for causing genital warts and, once contracted, is incurable.[iii] HPV is best-known for causing cervical cancer, but it is also associated with cancer in the head, neck, anus, and genitals of both sexes. But though it cannot be cured once contracted, the variant of the disease which leads to cancer can very easily and effectively be prevented by readily available vaccines.
There is a fair chance that you’ve heard the rumours that vaccinations are bad. In fact, around 69% of Americans have heard the theory that the government and doctors alike continue to push vaccinations on us, even though they know that vaccines cause autism and other diseases. What’s scarier is that around 20% of Americans actually believe it – and the so-called ‘Anti-Vaxx’ group want to increase that number five-fold. The question is though, are they right?
With such a vehemence of belief and a surprisingly large following, surely the anti-vaxx group base their campaign on strong scientific evidence. Well, that’s partly true. The group, endorsed by celebrities such as model and comedian Jenny McCarthy, fashion designer Kristin Cavallari, and radio host and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., argue their case based on one study published in the scientific Lancet journal in 1998. The paper, authored by Andrew Wakefield, demonstrated that rates of autism were significantly higher in those who had been vaccinated with the MMR jab – the ‘all in on’ mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine.