• Text Resize A A A
  • Print Print
  • Share Share Share Share

April 2019: Prevent Cancers Caused by HPV

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 viruses. About one in four people in the United States have it at any time and usually it does not cause symptoms. Some HPV infections do not go away, however, and they can lead to cancer. HPV is estimated to cause 33,700 cancers in men and women. These cancers include cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and rectal cancers, as well as cancers of the tongue, throat, and tonsils. There is a way to prevent up to 31,200 of these cases from ever developing: the HPV vaccine.

The HPV Vaccine

The HPV vaccine is most effective during adolescence, when the body produces more antibodies against the virus. That’s why the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) recommends starting the vaccine at ages 11 or 12. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adolescents receive multiple doses of the HPV vaccine. Preteens and teens ages 9-14 need two doses of the HPV vaccine. If teens and young adults ages 15-26 have not yet received the HPV vaccination, they will need three doses.

The NVPO created graphics and social media posts to highlight the importance of the HPV vaccine. These posts, included in the new HPV Vaccine Promotional Toolkit, can help parents and other caring adults spread the word about the HPV vaccine. Additionally, the Vaccine Finder can help users locate the nearly 3,000 Title X clinics that offer HPV vaccination. 

The HPV vaccine could prevent up to 31,200 cases of cancer in men and women in the U.S. each year.

How Can Families Keep Adolescents Up-To-Date?

Parents and other caring adults play a key role in ensuring that adolescents receive the vaccines they need, including the HPV vaccine. To keep vaccinations up to date, follow these three steps:

  • Stay on schedule. OAH compiled a list of online tools to help families keep track of which vaccines their teen has or has not received. Read the CDC’s list of recommended vaccinations.
  • Keep records. Documenting an adolescent’s immunization history makes it easier to stay on top of what shots they’ve received, and which are due next. Ask their doctor for a print-out of immunization records. It is also important for adolescents to learn the essential skills needed to successfully navigate the healthcare system.
  • Learn about affordable options. The CDC provides vaccines at no cost to eligible families through the Vaccines For Children program. Visit the Q&A page for more information.

Spread the Word with These Posts

The HPV vaccine is most effective during adolescence, when the body produces more antibodies against the virus. That’s why @HHSvaccines recommends starting the vaccine at ages 11 or 12. https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/physical-health-and-nutrition/vaccines/what-vaccines-do-adolescents-need/index.html #EndHPVCancers, via @TeenHealthGov

It can be hard to keep track of which vaccines adolescents need (like the HPV vaccine), how many doses, and whether they’ve gotten them. This list of online tools can help you keep track: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/physical-health-and-nutrition/vaccines/tips-for-parents/index.html @TeenHealthGov #EndHPVCancers

Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on April 18, 2019