It’s a common misunderstanding that the HPV vaccine is just a vaccine to protect against a sexually transmitted disease. While the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus transmitted via sexual contact as with other STDs, it may result in cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, and genital warts. HPV’s role in the development of many different types of cancer is being investigated by researchers.
In June 2006, the FDA approved the use of Gardasil, an HPV vaccine, in young women ages 9 to 26. It’s presently available at many physician’s and general health clinic’s offices across the United States. The vaccine has spawned much controversy, that has led to many parents being confused and unsure about whether to get their daughter vaccinated.
Parents are invited to make an educated decision about vaccinating their wives using the HPV vaccine. Talking to the family pediatrician and learning more about HPV and cervical cancer are both advocated by specialists to help parents make a determination.
Why Girls Should Get the HPV Vaccine
1. Gardasil greatly reduces the possibility that your daughter will develop cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against two forms of HPV that cause 70% of all cases of cervical cancer, thereby greatly decreasing the probability of developing cervical cancer later in life. Approximately 11,070 girls in the USA are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and an estimated 3,780 die from the disease.
Since Gardasil does not protect against all sorts of HPV, women who are vaccinated still need to have routine Pap smears to detect some precancerous changes. The vaccine doesn’t replace the Pap smear and regular Pap smears are necessary for optimum cervical health.
2. Gardasil protects young women from both common types of HPV that can cause genital warts. Vaccinated women are protected by the 2 kinds of HPV which are responsible for 90 percent of genital warts.
Genital warts may appear as cauliflower-like growths that could happen on, inside, and around the vagina. Additionally they can seem as flat growths that aren’t prominent and can go undetected. Although genital warts do not pose any immediate health risk, they can be embarrassing for many girls and can cause feelings of pity.
3. Gardasil greatly reduces the risk of developing other potentially life-threatening kinds of cancer. Vaccinating your daughter will significantly lessen the chance of her developing precancerous and abnormal vaginal and vulvar lesions which could become cancerous. The same types of HPV that cause cervical cancer can also be linked to vaginal and vulvar cancer. Even less common than cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancer are serious types of cancer that could be life threatening.