More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. It killed more than
4200 women last year. These numbers reinforce the need for continued cervical cancer screening.
Most cases of cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Most women are able to clear it from their bodies, but persistent infection with HPV can lead to cervical cancer.
We now have two new weapons in the fight against cervical cancer:
HPV DNA tests, FDA approved in 2000, detect the human papilloma virus.
AND HPV vaccine protects against strains that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide.
The HPV vaccine also protects against vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal
cancers, as well as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), genital warts and tumors that
can grow in the respiratory tract.
This is not just a female problem.
The FDA has approved HPV vaccine for males as well. Males and females should get vaccinated between 9 and 26. Giving the first dose around age 11 is best because immune systems of these adolescents are robust. The FDA recommends three doses over 6 months to ensure protection.
Be sure your child, boy or girl, gets the HPV vaccine.