Preventing HPV-Associated Cancers
In this video, a family physician and a pediatrician explain why they made sure their children got HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.
Vaccines protect against the types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that most often cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal precancers and cancers, as well as the types of HPV that cause most genital warts. At this time, the HPV vaccine has not been shown to prevent precancers or cancers in other areas of the body, such as the penis or oropharynx, although the vaccine does protect against the HPV types that are most often found in those types of cancers.
Cervical cancer also can be prevented or found early through regular screening and follow-up treatment. Learn about cervical cancer screening test options.
- The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers (cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately).
- The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.
If your doctor finds any abnormal results from a cervical cancer screening test, make sure to follow up in case you need treatment or further tests.
Currently, screening tests for other types of HPV-associated cancers are not recommended.