The Cancer Risk Awareness Survey, conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research (referenced here), demonstrates that we Americans aren’t always aware of things that have been proven to decrease our risk of cancer, and sometimes do things we think decrease our risk of cancer, but have not been proven to do so. But they neglect to mention a very important preventative measure against cancer – the HPV vaccine.
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) has many types, each causing different symptoms such as hand warts, planters warts, vulvar warts (condyloma), and worst of all, cervical cancer. More than 90% of cervical cancers are caused by certain types of HPV. The HPV vaccine (brand names Gardasil and Cervirix) protects against the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. It is most effective if you get the vaccine before any sexual activity and when your immune system is young so it can make a robust response to the vaccine. The American Association of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends vaccinating boys and girls at age 11-12.
Some of the research necessary to make these vaccines available was conducted right here at Seattle Women’s. We are very appreciative to the great patients willing to participate in the clinical trials. Your involvement made these vaccines available, ultimately saving women from the tragedy of cervical cancer. Thank you!