Condensed from the CDC website
Protecting your preteen children from most of the cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the thing to do. HPV is a very common virus that spreads between people when they have sexual contact with another person. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older adolescents.
HPV vaccination is a series of shots given over several months. The best way to remember to get your child all of the shots they need is to make an appointment for the remaining shots before you leave the doctor’s office or clinic.
HPV vaccines have been studied very carefully. These studies showed no serious safety concerns. Common, mild adverse events (side effects) reported during these studies include pain in the arm where the shot was given, fever, dizziness and nausea.
If your preteen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it for them as soon as possible. This one is really important.
“Wait, did he just say I had breast cancer? That word scared the beejeezus out of me! I couldn’t relate and I thought he was questioning my manhood because women die from this, not men…”
“There are at least 1,100 to 1,500 men who die every year from breast cancer. Although that number is far less than women who die from the disease, it’s still pretty high, so I stay on my daughters about health issues and what’s going on with their bodies because of my personal history. I stay on top of my diet and exercise as much as I can—it’s no joke and everyone should”.
Image: Essence magazine