You can still prevent cancer with the HPV vaccination – even up to 26 years old.
If you could grow old without cancer, would you? You now have the power to prevent many different cancers, says Daniel Saman, DrPH, MPH, FACE, senior advisor of health outcomes at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL. According to Dr. Saman, “the HPV vaccine is nothing short of miraculous – and everyone should know about it!” He’s dedicated his career to improving people’s health through research and patient advocacy, and he’d like to share everything you need to know about the HPV vaccine.
HPV – A Dangerous Virus
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a group of more than 200 viruses that can easily spread from person to person, and can cause cancer and genital warts in both men and women. In the U.S., 14 million people are infected every year with HPV – in fact, most sexually active people have been infected with the virus at some point in their lives. Though most HPVs are relatively harmless, there are some types of HPV that do cause cancer. Every year in the U.S., about 36,000 men and women are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV, including cancers of the cervix, mouth/throat, vulva, vagina, penis and anus.
The Good News
Miraculously, there’s a vaccine that prevents HPV infections and the cancers they cause. Here’s what you need to know:
- The HPV vaccine works. Vaccination can prevent nearly all of the infections of the types of HPV that cause cancer. It also reduces the risk of getting genital warts by nearly 100%.
- The vaccine is safe. More than 135 million HPV vaccine doses have been given in the U.S. Some people experience minor side effects, like soreness in the arm that receives the shot or a brief low-grade fever – but serious side effects are very rare.
- Many people get the HPV vaccine during childhood. In fact, the CDC recommends that all girls and boys get it by the time they’re 11 – 12 years old. But if you didn’t get it as a child, all men and women up to 26 years of age are recommended to get the vaccine. Even those up to 45 years of age may benefit from vaccination.
- You’ll need three doses of the vaccine, given over a six-month period.
- You should not get the vaccine if you’re pregnant or likely to be pregnant, or if you have a yeast allergy or are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
Take action today.
If you’re 26 or younger and haven’t already received your HPV vaccine, please talk to your doctor and consider getting it today. Vaccination could prevent many types of cancer and even save your life.
For information on coverage and costs (if applicable) for the HPV vaccine, please see your health plan documents or call the number on the back of your health plan ID card. We’re always glad to answer any questions you may have.