HPV vaccine now offer cancer protection

HPV vaccines now offer cancer protection

When it comes to their kids, parents are always planning — healthy dinners, safe activities, etc.

One plan that’s easy to make could have a tremendous benefit, even saving a life — planning to have pre-teens vaccinated against HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus.

HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women and can also cause cancer of the penis for men, as well as genital warts, anal cancer and mouth/throat cancer in both women and men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States each year, about 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by HPVrelated cancers. Most of the HPV infections that cause these cancers could be prevented with vaccination.

The CDC recommends the HPV vaccination for preteen girls and boys starting at age 11 or 12 years. The HPV vaccine is given in three doses, or shots, over six months. To ensure protection against HPV, it is important to receive all three doses in the vaccine series. The best time to vaccinate your child is at age 11 or 12, which perfectly aligns with their sixthgrade shots. Talk to your provider about adding the HPV vaccine to the other vaccines, like Tdap and meningococcal, which your child will receive at that time. According to Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, starting the vaccine series at 11 or 12 is important because, “The HPV vaccine only provides protection if it is given before exposure to HPV.”

Also, HPV vaccine produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older teens and young adults.

Having 17,600 women and 9,300 men affected by HPV-related cancers each year in the U.S. is too many. The HPV vaccine is important because the HPV infections that cause most of these cancers could be prevented by vaccination. You are the key to cancer prevention — vaccinate your children now, to protect your children later. If your preteen or teenage son or daughter hasn’t started or finished the HPV vaccine series, it’s not too late. It is also recommended for girls through age 26 and for boys age 21 who have not yet been vaccinated. Talk to their health care provider about getting it for them now. To learn more about HPV and HPV vaccination, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines or call 800-CDC-INFO.

Amy Clark is an RN, member of the HPV Prevention Campaign work group and current DNP student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.