If you could protect your child from cancer, would you? That’s the question to ask when considering the human papillomavirus vaccine.
The HPV vaccine “is one of the very, very few vaccines that can prevent cancer,” says Ross DeHovitz, M.D., a pediatrician with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Given how many Americans get HPV at some point in their lives, it’s remarkably valuable.”
HPV causes virtually all cervical and anal cancers. It also leads to cancers of the mouth, throat and penis, as well as genital warts. About 14 million U.S. adults and teens become newly infected with HPV each year, making it the most common sexually transmitted disease. And every year, more than 27,000 people develop HPV-related cancer, including 11,000 cervical cancer cases.