I attended my high-school reunion this weekend and a friend sidelined me to ask if she could ask me a medical question. Of course!
Truly, I am a family physician everywhere I go. Medicine is a passion and a way of life.
Her question was “Should I have my teenagers get the HPV vaccine?” What an easy question to answer. “YES!”
HPV, human papilloma virus, is the known virus that changes cells on the cervix from normal cells to cancer cells. It is also associated with head and neck cancers in males. Per the CDC, every year 31,000 US women and men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV. Specifically, there are 12,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer yearly with 4400 women dying from cervical cancer annually. And, for men, 9100 men each year are diagnosed with HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers.
The HPV vaccine series is either a set of 2 or 3 vaccines, depending on what age you start the series. If the first dose is given before age 13, it is 2 vaccines. If first dose is after the 13th birthday, then it is a 3-dose vaccine series.
HPV vaccine is safe. Please review the safety profile by CDC https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/pdf/data-summary-hpv-gardasil-vaccine-is-safe.pdf
I hope this helps. If you want more information look on the http://www.cdc.gov website.