Protecting kids against HPV before cancer risk increases

Some parents remain hesitant to get their children vaccinated for the human papilloma virus, despite assurances by medical experts that the recommended shots are both highly safe and effective.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine to protect females between the ages of 9 and 26 and males between the ages of 9 and 15 against nine strains of HPV.

Every year in the United States, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women. HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers (about 28,000) from occurring, according to the CDC.

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is transmitted through intimate contact and causes warts on the vagina, cervix, penis and anus.  The CDC says about one in four people are currently infected with HPV in the United States and about 14 million people, including teens, are diagnosed with it each year.

The medical data clearly indicates that the HPV vaccine is extremely safe and highly effective at preventing cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women and cancers of the penis and anus in men; and oropharynx (tonsils) cancer in both sexes.

“The fact that now we have a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is a huge deal. Cervical cancer in advanced stages can be difficult to treat and control,” said Dr. Sanaz Memarzadeh, professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and member of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Given the efficacy of this vaccine in preventing cervical pre-cancer and cancerous disease makes complete sense that it is included as part of routine vaccination for kids.”



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