• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

Should I vaccinate my child against Human Papilloma Virus?

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Carrie was terrified when she presented to my office, at 28 years she had 2 small children and couldn’t figure out why she was bleeding all the time. Her examination revealed cervical cancer and she died from her disease despite aggressive treatment within 18 months.

Cervical cancer is preventable and HPV vaccination is, undoubtedly, one of the best advances medicine has ever had to prevent this horrible disease. Cervical cancer remains the second most common cancer in women worldwide and the third most common cancer leading to death in women. Sadly, it strikes women at the prime of their lives, usually between 30-45 years of age.

Gardisil protects against 4 types of HPV virus (2 that cause cervical cancer and 2 that cause genital warts) and can be administered in 3 injections. Vaccination reactions are rare, far rarer than acquisition of HPV that is carried by approximately 80% of the population. Currently there are recommendations for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), The American Cancer Society (ACS), The Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Ob/Gyn (ACOG).

Most organizations encourage vaccination of young females and males between the ages of 9 and 26 years of age and, preferably, prior to the onset of sexual activity. Please consider this important protective measure for your children and talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

Menopausal women are also impacted by HPV, a topic I will cover at the EWC Free Virtual Menopause Café next Wednesday. Register today to grab your spot: https://www.ewcircle.com/events-1/free-virtual-menopause-cafe

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