Prevent Cancer With the HPV Vaccine
What if two shots could prevent cancer? They can. The HPV vaccination is a vital immunization for young people that can have lasting benefits.
Know the risks of HPV
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a series of viruses that are transmitted in a number of ways. It is a very common disease, and most people will develop it during their lifetime. There are currently 97 million Americans living with HPV, and that number climbs each year. This year alone it will affect 14 million more people across the country.
HPV causes infections which lead to cancer. The virus is detected in 99% of cervical cancer diagnoses, but the risks are not limited to women. Everyone is susceptible to oropharynx cancer and others which are largely attributed to infections caused by HPV.
Understand the HPV vaccine
There is no cure for HPV, but a preventive vaccination can protect against the disease — and the cancers that can result from it. Doctors recommend the vaccine to all girls and boys ages 11 and 12, though those up to age 26 can safely get vaccinated under the right circumstances.
If your children fall within these age ranges, the HPV vaccine is crucial to add to their vaccination schedule. It reduces the risk of seven different kinds of cancer, and only carries the same minor side effects as all shots — namely pain, redness and potential swelling of the skin at the site of injection. That’s a small price to pay for lifelong peace of mind.
Dr. Suzanne Grannan, Community Health Network's Pediatric Medical Director, explains the importance of this vaccine for her patients.
"I am a strong believer in the importance of this cancer preventing vaccine for all of my patients. And because I wouldn't recommend anything for your child that I wouldn't give my own, all three of my children started the HPV series when they turned 11 years old."
Vaccinate for a better future
With a direct correlation between the disease and cancer, it comes as no surprise that the fight against HPV is a major focus for The National Cancer Institute. They stress that “Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two-thirds.”
The Center for Disease Control’s hope is to have an 80% vaccination rate against HPV nation-wide, but Indiana falls well below that goal. “This shortfall carries serious consequences, translating into 53,000 future cervical cancer cases over the lifetimes of girls ages 12 years and younger.”
Everyone can contribute to the fight against HPV and its related cancers. Learn more about how you can get care for your child that will last a lifetime.