This post is made possible with support from the American Cancer Society. All opinions are my own.
Right now, student health is top of mind for us as school rolls back into session. Amid COVID-19, part of that conversation is about vaccines—what’s needed and what isn’t. As the mom of a 6, 12, and 14-year-old, we are at varying places on the immunization schedule.
Now, I am working to learn all I can about them and getting them caught up and ready for life now and later. What I have learned is that some of the vaccines available now didn’t even exist when I was back in school, and one of those is the HPV vaccine. Through my research, I have learned that the HPV vaccine is a safe, effective means of cancer prevention.
THINGS TO KNOW:
HPV is short for human papillomavirus. It’s a common virus that affects both men and women equally. The virus causes six types of cancers (cervical, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).
The good news is that we now have a long-lasting vaccine that provides prevention for six different cancers caused by the virus. That being said, it is recommended that children get their first dose between 9 and 12. If your child is outside of this age range refer to the American Cancer Society. Like any health decision, it is best to consult your health practitioner and do your research.
WHAT WE DECIDED:
When I took my middle son for his back-to-school checkup and entering-7th-grade shots, we discussed the HPV vaccine—the hype, the scary rumor mills, and its use as cancer prevention. His doctor recommended it as a safe, effective way to prevent a more complicated health and life issue down the road. She gave us more information and told us that we have a bit of time to think about it before our follow-up appointment in the winter. We’ve decided to get it for them as it is a relatively easy way for us to prevent a more complicated health issue in the future.
Get the facts about HPV and cancer from the American Cancer Society.