By Tara Maving
As we enjoy the remaining summer days, Cancer Prevention In Action (CPIA) reminds parents about the importance of immunizations, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine recommended for boys and girls by age 11 or 12, and encourages them to know the facts.
- HPV virus can lead to cancer later in life. The virus is so common that nearly all men and women will get HPV at some point.
- Nearly 80 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and about 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected yearly.
- HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus.
- Most people exposed to HPV will never develop health issues, but others may experience serious health problems, including cervical, anal, vulvar, mouth, and throat cancer.
- Infected individuals typically have no symptoms but spread the virus without knowing it.
- HPV vaccine can prevent many cancers caused by HPV infection, but nearly half of adolescents in New York are not getting it.
- The reason the HPV vaccine is recommended for children at age 11 or 12, is because it is most effective when administered prior to HPV exposure.
- A recent study showed a 71 percent drop in health care visits for 7-17-year-olds due to the pandemic, when critical vaccines like Tdap, HPV, and meningitis are given.
Ask your pediatrician or local health department about the HPV vaccine. For more information on HPV, the vaccine, and cancer prevention visit CPIA in Erie and Niagara County at www.takeactionagainstcancer.com. Also, see https://on.ny.gov/3dWnaUZ, and check out the Someone You Love documentary and panel discussion at https://bit.ly/3xJuVVV.