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HPV Vaccinations Strongly Urged By Healthcare Professionals

Nearly 13,000 American women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer annually in the United States. Roughly 4,000 women die from the disease each year. This form of cancer can sometimes be prevented entirely through the use of a vaccine. That vaccine, however, is widely under-utilized in America, causing healthcare organizations across the country to issue a plea for parents to have their children, girls and boys both, vaccinated.

The vaccine in question protects against the human papillomavirus or HPV. The virus has been linked to most cases of cervical cancer, but can also be linked to such cancers as those found in the vagina, vulva, throat and anus. Since HPV affects both boys and girls, the recommendation is that all children between the ages of 11 and 12 undergo a three-shot program to prevent HPV. The virus is sexually transmitted, so obtaining the vaccine prior to sexual maturity is considered the best bet for protection.

While the HPV vaccine has been available for quite some time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent reports that compliance rates are quite low across the country. Only about 40 percent of girls and 21 percent of boys across the country are believed to have received all three doses. The lack of use, doctors say, could pose a serious threat to public health.

To increase the number of vaccines given, the American Cancer Society and other organizations have joined forces to raise awareness. The groups recommend that all children receive the vaccines prior to their 13th birthdays. Use is still feasible for children of older ages. The vaccine may also be beneficial for young adults, as well.

To get ahead of cervical cancer and other HPV-related illnesses, it is recommended that all parents speak with their healthcare providers about getting their children vaccinated. This simple three-round vaccine cycle may very well save lives down the road much like other commonly used vaccines.

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