Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Protect Your Daughters from Cervical Cancer

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

Every year in the United States, 27,000 people 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.

HPV is short for human papillomavirus, a very common virus in both men and women. About 79 million people in the U.S., most in their teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. Almost all sexually active people get HPV at some point in their life, but most never know they have been infected. Many HPV infections go away, but sometimes HPV can cause cancer or genital warts.

When should my child get this vaccine?

Girls and boys should get all three doses of HPV vaccine before their 13th birthday.

HPV vaccine is recommended at ages 11-12 for two reasons:

  • HPV vaccine produces the highest immune response at this age.
  • HPV vaccine must be given before exposure to the virus for it to be effective in preventing cancers and other diseases caused by HPV.

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.

Fact Sheet: What Parents Should Know about HPV Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

Check out this infographic for more information on the safety and effectiveness of HPV vaccine.

Is this shot safe?

HPV vaccine has a very good safety record [145 KB]. More than 67 million doses have been distributed in the U.S since 2006, and no serious safety concerns have been linked to HPV vaccination. Common, mild side effects reported include pain in the arm where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea. Some preteens and teens might faint after getting the HPV vaccine or any shot. 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.

How well does this vaccine work?

A recent study by the CDC showed that the HPV vaccine is very effective and helped to cut HPV infection rates in teen girls by half. Other studies have shown that genital warts (caused by HPV infections) have also decreased in teens since HPV vaccine came out.

How can I learn more about HPV vaccine and cancer prevention?