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Protect Your Daughters from Cervical Cancer

Father and mother with preteen daughter holding soccer trophyHPV vaccination can protect your children from several types of cancers, including cervical cancer. Get HPV vaccine for your sons and daughters at ages 11-12 to protect them from cancers caused by HPV infections.

Every year in the United States, 27,000 women and men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV—that's a new case of HPV cancer every 20 minutes! About 17,600 of the cases are women, and roughly 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year in the U.S.—even with screening and treatment.

Most of these cancers could be prevented by HPV vaccine—not to mention all the invasive testing and treatment HPV vaccination could prevent. Each year in the U.S. more than 300,000 women endure invasive testing and treatment for lesions (changes in the cells) on the cervix that can develop into cancers. Testing and treatment for these “precancers” can have lasting effects.

HPV is short for human papillomavirus, a very common virus that infects both men and women. About 79 million people in the U.S., most in their teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. Although many HPV infections go away, infections that don’t go away (persist) can lead to cancer or genital warts.

When should my child get this shot?

Girls and boys should complete the HPV vaccine series before their 13th birthday. The HPV vaccine series works best when it is given at the recommended ages of 11 or 12.

Teens and young adults through age 26 who have not received the HPV shots should ask their doctor or nurse about getting them now—it's not too late. If it has been a long time since your child got the first or second dose of HPV vaccine, you don't have to start over—just get the remaining shot(s) as soon as possible. Make an appointment today to get your child vaccinated.

Three Things Parents Should Know About Preventing Cancer

Check out this infographic to learning more about preventing HPV cancers.

Is this shot safe?

HPV vaccines have been studied very closely and have an excellent safety record. Nearly 80 million doses of HPV vaccines have been distributed for use in the United States, and no serious safety concerns have been linked to HPV vaccination.

Like all medical products, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects of HPV vaccines are mild and go away on their own, like pain and redness in the arm where the shot was given. Occasionally, patients might faint after receiving an injectable vaccine. Preteens and teens should sit or lie down when they get a shot and stay like that for about 15 minutes after the shot. This can help prevent fainting and any injury that could happen while fainting.

The cancer prevention benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh the risk of these side effects.

How well does this vaccine work?

HPV vaccines work extremely well. Since its introduction in 2006, HPV vaccination has helped to cut HPV infection rates among teen girls by half. Other studies have shown that genital warts (caused by HPV infections) have also decreased among teens, as well as precancers of the cervix in young women, since HPV vaccine was introduced.