You may have heard the news this week that 40-45% of adults are infected with human papilloma virus. 20-25% are infected with the dangerous strains of the virus that are associated with 31,000 cases a year of cancer and 4,000 deaths a year from cervical cancer. It’s alarming to think that one in every four to five young adults is infected with a highly contagious virus that can cause cancer.
The good new is, the HPV vaccine is hugely effective! In the ten years since it was introduced, HPV rates in teen-aged girls have dropped by 2/3, even though nationally not all teenagers are vaccinated. Giving the vaccine beginning at age 11 helps increase effectiveness and is a great way to make sure our teenage patients are NOT among these cancer cases.
The current schedule for those under age 14 is two doses given at least six months apart (or three doses with a minimum of six months between the first and last dose) and for those 15 and up, three doses with a minimum of six months between the first and last dose.
If any of our patients have not received the vaccine, or it has been more than six months from their first dose, please call the office to schedule a visit. Completing this series of vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent future cancer.
For more on the HPV vaccine, we like these recent articles: