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Protect Your Daughters from Cervical Cancer

Mother hugging and encouraging daughter

Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Thanks to HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening, it is the most preventable of all of the female cancers. CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all 11-12 year old boys and girls to protect against cancers caused by HPV.

HPV causes nearly 11,000 cases of cervical cancer each year in the United States. Even with screening and treatment, more than 4,000 women die from the disease each year in the U.S.

More than nine of every 10 cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. Cervical cancer can be largely prevented by the HPV vaccine.

HPV infections can also lead to cervical precancers, or abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer. Every year in the United States, nearly 300,000 women are diagnosed with cervical precancers that require treatment.

Cervical Cancer Screening

The HPV vaccine does not replace the need for regular Pap tests and pelvic exams. Even women who have received the HPV vaccine should get regular  cervical cancer screening starting at age 21. For more information on Cervical Cancer Screening, visit What Should I Know About Screening?

Treatment for cervical cancers and precancers may limit women’s ability to have children. Getting the HPV vaccine for your daughter when she is a preteen can help prevent cervical cancer and cervical precancer as they get older, including treatment for cervical cancers and precancers.

Getting an HPV Vaccine

Girls and boys should receive two shots of HPV vaccine at least 6 months apart at ages 11 or 12, finishing the two-shot series before their 13th birthday. Teens and young adults who did not start the HPV vaccine series before they turned 15 will need three shots within six months for best protection. Teens and young adults through age 26 (for women) and age 21 (for men) who have not received the HPV shots should ask their doctor or nurse about getting them now.

Take advantage of any medical visit – such as an annual health checkup or physicals for sports, camp or college – to ask the doctor about what shots your preteens and teens need.

HPV is a common virus that infects teen and adults. 80 percent of people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime.

Protection from Other Cancers

In addition to cervical cancer, HPV can cause cancers of th vagina and vulva in women, cancers of the penis in men, and cancers of the anus and back of the throat (oropharynx) in men and women.

Cervical cancer [412 KB] is the only type of HPV cancer for which there is recommended screening. That means these other types of cancer may not be found until they cause health problems. That’s why it’s important to prevent HPV infections that can lead to these cancers later in life.

More Information

  • What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer?
  • What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
  • Watch the ‘Knowledge Is Power: Cervical Cancer’ video.
  • Watch ‘Why HPV Vaccine is Important to My Family: The Story of a Cervical Cancer Survivor’ video.

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