By Donna Williams, DrPH
Is Your Doctor Telling You Everything? Don’t Be So Sure.
If there were a vaccine to prevent cancer in your children, would you have them get it? Did you know there is such a vaccine? Has your doctor discussed that with you?
HPV is a virus that causes a number of cancers including cervical, anal, vulvar, vaginal, penis, and throat. Most people are exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. Most of the time it is harmless. But for reasons we do not completely understand, sometimes HPV causes cancer.
The good news is there is now a vaccine that can prevent many of these cancers. Because it is a somewhat new vaccine, your child’s doctor may have not mentioned it. The vaccine is given to children when they are much less likely to have gotten the virus. Once someone has gotten the virus, the vaccine is not likely to help.
The recommendation is for children to get the vaccine around 11 years of age. It is three shots given over several months. Very few side effects have been reported and those reported are mostly redness and soreness at the injection site.
So protect your child! And don’t assume your doctor is telling you about it. Tell your doctor that your child needs the HPV vaccine.