By Vera Gruessner

VaccineThe latest news about breast cancer shows that a different type of vaccine could be beneficial in preventing this disease, according to The Guardian. Along with the ability to prevent cervical cancers, Gardasil may be effective at stopping breast cancer.

A study stemming from the University of New South Wales shows that women with abnormal cervical cells due to human papillomavirus infection may be more likely to develop breast cancer in later years. The sexually transmitted virus HPV has been linked to creating an environment of abnormal cell growth that leads to cervical and genital cancers.

Based on approximately 4,000 pathology reports, the researchers found that HPV could play a role in the development of breast cancers. The researchers have hypothesized that the virus could move from the cervix to the breast tissue through white blood cells found in the body.

HPV Type 18 and HPV Type 16 were the most common types identified in the cancerous breast tissue studied. The HPV vaccine called Gardasil is known to prevent infection from both of these types of the virus.

“Gardasil is very effective for those types, and while we don’t have enough evidence to say for sure, Gardasil should be effective at preventing breast cancers associated with those types as well as cervical cancers,” Professor John Lawson, lead author of the study, told the news source.

“Ensuring people receive the vaccine is the obvious and wise thing to do, and that applies to young males as well as they’re involved in the sexual transmission of HPV to women.”

Along with genetic factors like BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, women may be at higher risk of breast cancer due to certain viral causes such as the human mammary tumor virus and, now, the human papillomavirus. Vaccinations like the ones being developed at the Cleveland Clinic as well as the HPV vaccine could be a surefire way to prevent breast cancer among future generations.

“The evidence which is emerging, and with which our group is intimately involved in, is that a handful of viruses probably cause breast cancer,” Lawson said. “HPV is one of them. The challenge remains to fully understand the role HPV plays in causing breast cancer.”

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