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I'm trying to think of two words that I'd less like to hear next to one another than "anal" and "cancer" and the only pairing that comes close is "penis" and "cancer."

Those two horrific word-pairings need to be invoked again and again until our aging elected representatives can be startled and disgusted into doing the right thing and funding a vaccination program.

Posted by flamingbanjo | February 2, 2007 5:39 PM

Unfortunately, then our elected representatives will not hesitate to link "anal cancer" and "gay men." Gay men are indeed the people who get anal cancer from HPV. Politicians won't be startled or disgusted into doing anything to help gay men.

The most effective route, in my opinion, is to continue to emphasize cervical cancer and the fact that men can pass on HPV to their partners. Gardasil is already being tested on boys and men, and I think Cevarix (Glaxo Kline Smith's forthcoming HPV vaccine, targeting only 16 and 18) might be as well.

Posted by annie | February 2, 2007 5:51 PM

Is there an age limit on the vaccine or are HPV-negative adults encouraged to get this vaccine as well?

Posted by Chris | February 2, 2007 5:55 PM

reposted from my comment below:

You can get it easily if you're 26 or under. Any older than that (or male), and you have to find a doctor who's willing to prescribe it "off-label"--and your insurance definitely won't cover it. The thing is, you don't know if you have HPV unless you've participated in a study. There are no tests for HPV that can be used in a clinical setting. Your Pap test will tell you if you have complications that can be traced to HPV, but not the virus itself. So for the most part, healthcare providers are assuming you have HPV already (90% of sexually active people get it sometime in their lives). And it hasn't been fully tested in populations over 26.

Posted by annie | February 2, 2007 5:58 PM

" I got Cancer of the prick"
Lefty "two guns" Ruggiero from Donnie Brasco

Posted by SeMe | February 2, 2007 6:01 PM

anal don't count.

Posted by SEAN NELSON, EMERITUS | February 2, 2007 6:05 PM

Erica, You've got the "anus and penis" beat all to your self. Keep digging!

Posted by Journalism is a tough business | February 2, 2007 6:16 PM

Haven't you read the stranger? The writers take turns with the anus and penis beat. Erica only gets Friday afternoons.

Posted by jamier | February 2, 2007 7:20 PM

Oh, who has ever heard of ass cancer... it's almost funny. I have ass cancer!

Posted by The CHZA | February 2, 2007 7:23 PM

As someone who spent a summer editing medical photos for DVDs, I can tell you there is nothing funny about ass cancer. It was ten years ago, but "The Ileal Anal Pull-Through Procedure" is still etched onto my horrified mind.

Posted by jessiesk | February 2, 2007 8:20 PM

Let your Line Out blogger know. He's the asshole who gave it to my friend. Hope his penis is ON FIRE!

Posted by Ouch | February 2, 2007 8:22 PM

Way to stick it to the many, many Christian conservative readers of Slog. Speak truth to power™, Sister!

Posted by R | February 2, 2007 9:24 PM

yeah, basically everybody gets HPV eventually. scientists aren't even sure how it's spread. you might get it from just heavy petting.

Posted by chris | February 2, 2007 10:29 PM

In Erica's eyes, everything is a slight against women. Does no one else find this tedious?

Posted by Oh please | February 2, 2007 11:06 PM

Anal cancer? I am an older gay guy who has not slowed sine that wild year when I was 14 and came out.

Yes, several thousand. And conversation with many more.

Never ever, not once, encountered a single mention of anal cancer - right here at Stranger Slog, the first.

God, Erica, you should get a raise for juicing up Friday stuff, but, Honey, you are a paid alarmist. Perhaps it is the female approach to health matters, fascinated with the very obscure so as to have a little more fear.....musing fear, ask Charles.

Very Puritan laced too....... slow down boys, beware, beware, the ass funny, really, how funny.

More chance/danger, much more indeed from getting crushed by Metro in your car.

Now I want to see the photos from the Army Health films.

Posted by Freddy | February 2, 2007 11:25 PM

No, they'll just blame it on the gays and ignore it.

Posted by Gomez | February 3, 2007 9:12 AM

This reminds me of that skit that Saturday Night Live did on "Butt Cancer Treatment Center", which unfortunately reminds us that cancer isn't all that funny.

Posted by la | February 3, 2007 9:57 AM

Oh ass cancer is real. Penis cancer is real too. HPV secretes a protein that attacks squamous cells; we have squamous cells in our genitals, throats, eye sockets and asses. Read what I have learned below.

Anal cancer is fairly rare. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007 about 4,650 new cases of anal cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. The number of new anal cancer cases has been increasing for many years.

The disease affects women somewhat more often than men. Of the 4,650 new cases, 2,750 will occur in women and 1,900 in men. Women are more likely to have cancers in the inner part of the anus (the anal canal), while anal tumors in men tend to develop on the outside of the anus.

Anal cancer can be a serious condition. An estimated 690 people (430 women and 260 men) will die of anal cancer in 2007. But treatment for anal cancer is very effective and most patients with this cancer will be cured.

Anal cancer is found mainly in adults older than age 35.

[Note: The New York Times is reporting: “Although anal cancer can affect anyone, it is most common among men with histories of receptive anal intercourse — an annual rate of about 35 cases per 100,000, and perhaps twice that for those infected with H.I.V., which weakens the immune system.... The anal cancer rate for gay men is similar to cervical cancer rates before the advent of Pap smears, the test that can detect precancerous cell abnormalities.” Jan. 30, ‘07. This seems to contradict the statistics found on the ACS website.]

The American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States about 1,530 new cases of penile cancer will be diagnosed and an estimated 280 men will die of penile cancer in 2006. Penile cancer occurs in about 1 man in 100,000 in the United States...

Unfortunately, many men are reluctant to see a doctor for treatment of lesions (abnormalities) on the penis. Research (in some countries other than the United States) has found that about half of men with penile lesions delay seeking treatment for at least a year or more after they first notice the problem.

If a cancer is detected early, it can be removed with little or no damage to the penis. If it is found late,
Also, it is more likely to be fatal if not caught early.

Posted by good vagina | February 3, 2007 10:08 AM

Farrah Fawcett has been battling anal cancer. She's just been given a clean bill of health.

Posted by Rielle | February 3, 2007 11:27 AM

Good Work Vagina - my apology, it is a real issue and information is always a good thing.

I am glad you mentioned it is rare and the gay men who butt fuck, bottoms like the guys at the Stranger, are mostly in the line of cases.

The most salient point of your astute report is not the cancer --- it is how stupidly slow men are to go to doctors. THAT is a real problem that should be addressed in a major way. American men have internalized the mantra that they must be strong and not whine a lot - thus they don't see doctors readily. Medical stuff is also costly if uninsured.

The stupid delay which is so characteristic only makes many serious conditions much worse, so go see the Doc, guys and make sure it is one who can deal with dick and ass diseases ..... gay friendly and informed.

Posted by Freddy | February 3, 2007 1:03 PM

Agreed. There needs to be more exploration as to why men don't go to the doctor (I'm sure we can all think of five reasons off the tops of our heads pretty easily) and how to overcome those objections.

Posted by Doctor, doctor | February 3, 2007 1:33 PM

of course not, we don't tell men what to do with their bodies!

Posted by blehpunk | February 3, 2007 2:16 PM

of course not, we don't tell men what to do with their bodies!

Posted by blehpunk | February 3, 2007 2:16 PM

Freddy, you understand my point exactly.

I will also confess to a more selfish position as well, as a women with HPV related high grade cell abnormalities (not cancer as of now) who has had bits of my vagina, scraped, clipped, snipped, bored, burned, frozen and lasered all in order to stave off cancer, vaginectomy or death, I really feel the need to get the word out that HPV can mess you up if you let it. Years ago what is going on in my vagina used to be called "female trouble" or "something wrong down there" and even that was uttered in hushed tones with lowered eyes. Women have leaned to get yearly PAP tests and guard the health of their pink parts even when it is not a lot of fun to get up in those stirrups--men are going to have to do the same. I keep wondering how many men have dealt with penis or anal cancer and not said a word about it. It seems like it must be quite a lot if we compare the incidence data with your experience. How sad. Yes, I want men to learn to protect themselves (I love a nice lively penis more than most) but I also want men to demand access to HPV vaccines and other preventative care. I am just cynical enough to believe that real progress in prevention and treatment of HPV related diseases will only come when heterosexual men know their dicks and shiters are at risk.

Posted by Good Vagina | February 3, 2007 2:37 PM

Farrah Fawcett has been battling anal cancer. She's just been given a clean bill of health.

That's must've been a pain in the ass ::RIMSHOT::.

Posted by Gomez | February 3, 2007 7:01 PM


you were doing so well at first, thinking for yourself. But the Merck spokesperson (GV) and your own sexual anxieties overcame critical thinking and your own life experience. men almost always seem happy to condemn their sexuality before considering many factors that can contribute to health problems.

The elephant in the living room in this politically-correct era is the condom.

Condoms are chock-full of chemicals and toxic compounds. And the water-based lubricants that go along with their use often have benzene derivatives as part of their formula. But...heaven forbid we look into that. Best to leave toxicology as a big ZERO in ANY equation involving cancer. Microbes are in fashion this season.

I've been sexually-active gay guy for nearly 30 years. I have yet to meet a gay man with butt cancer. Although, with all the condom use, that could start to change. Condoms are far from chemically-benign. Something to think about. Or not. Best to blame a microbe that most adults encounter and clear from their systems without incident.

Posted by BD | February 4, 2007 7:04 AM

Speaking of HPV fun...

here's a post from the Gardasil thread.

The Facts About GARDASIL

1. GARDASIL is a vaccine for 4 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), two strains that are strongly associated (and probably cause) genital warts and two strains that are typically associated (and may cause) cervical cancer. About 90% of people with genital warts show exposure to one of the two HPV strains strongly suspected to cause genital warts. About 70% of women with cervical cancer show exposure to one of the other two HPV strains that the vaccine is designed to confer resistance to.

2. HPV is a sexually communicable (not an infectious) virus. When you consider all strains of HPV, over 70% of sexually active males and females have been exposed. A condom helps a lot (70% less likely to get it), but has not been shown to stop transmission in all cases (only one study of 82 college girls who self-reported about condom use has been done). For the vast majority of women, exposure to HPV strains (even the four "bad ones" protected for in GARDASIL) results in no known health complications of any kind.

3. Cervical cancer is not a deadly nor prevalent cancer in the US or any other first world nation. Cervical cancer rates have declined sharply over the last 30 years and are still declining. Cervical cancer accounts for less than 1% of of all female cancer cases and deaths in the US. Cervical cancer is typically very treatable and the prognosis for a healthy outcome is good. The typical exceptions to this case are old women, women who are already unhealthy and women who don't get pap smears until after the cancer has existed for many years.

4. Merck's clinical studies for GARDASIL were problematic in several ways. Only 20,541 women were used (half got the "placebo") and their health was followed up for only four years at maximum and typically 1-3 years only. More critically, only 1,121 of these subjects were less than 16. The younger subjects were only followed up for a maximum of 18 months. Furthermore, less than 10% of these subjects received true placebo injections. The others were given injections containing an aluminum salt adjuvant (vaccine enhancer) that is also a component of GARDASIL. This is scientifically preposterous, especially when you consider that similar alum adjuvants are suspected to be responsible for Gulf War disease and other possible vaccination related complications.

5. Both the "placebo" groups and the vaccination groups reported a myriad of short term and medium term health problems over the course of their evaluations. The majority of both groups reported minor health complications near the injection site or near the time of the injection. Among the vaccination group, reports of such complications were slightly higher. The small sample that was given a real placebo reported far fewer complications -- as in less than half. Furthermore, most if not all longer term complications were written off as not being potentially vaccine caused for all subjects.

6. Because the pool of test subjects was so small and the rates of cervical cancer are so low, NOT A SINGLE CONTROL SUBJECT ACTUALLY CONTRACTED CERVICAL CANCER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM -- MUCH LESS DIED OF IT. Instead, this vaccine's supposed efficacy is based on the fact that the vaccinated group ended up with far fewer cases (5 vs. about 200) of genital warts and "precancerous lesions" (dysplasias) than the alum injected "control" subjects.

7. Because the tests included just four years of follow up at most, the long term effects and efficacy of this vaccine are completely unknown for anyone. All but the shortest term effects are completely unknown for little girls. Considering the tiny size of youngster study, the data about the shortest terms side effects for girls are also dubious.

8. GARDASIL is the most expensive vaccine ever marketed. It requires three vaccinations at $120 a pop for a total price tag of $360. It is expected to be Merck's biggest cash cow of this and the next decade.

These are simply the facts of the situation as presented by Merck and the FDA.

Posted by BD | February 4, 2007 7:17 AM

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