The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention
HPV, short for human papillomavirus, causes more than 33,700 Americans to get cancer every year. The HPV vaccine prevents HPV-related cancers. The best time to get the HPV vaccine is when your child is a preteen.
HPV is Common
- About 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with HPV.
- About 4 out of 5 people will get HPV at some point in their lives.
- There are more than 100 types of HPV.
- About 40 kinds of HPV can infect the genital area, mouth and throat.
- Other types of HPV cause common warts.
HPV Can Spread Without You Knowing It
HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it.
- Most people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
- HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
HPV Can Cause Cancer
HPV infections can cause:
- Cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers
- Penile cancer
- Anal cancer
- Cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx)
- Genital warts
Most HPV infections do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, but some can lead to cancer. There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other diseases.
The HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer
There is no treatment for HPV, but the vaccine can prevent more than 90 percent of HPV-related cancers from ever developing.
The Vaccine Works Best at Ages 11 - 12
- Boys and girls ages 11-12 years have a strong immune response to the vaccine. They will need 2 shots (instead of 3) if they get the vaccine at this age.
- Vaccination protects children before they may be exposed to the virus.
- The HPV vaccine can be given alongside other preteen vaccines like whooping cough and meningitis.
Many Parents Choose to Protect Their Child From HPV-Related Cancers
- More than 100 million HPV vaccinations have already been given to boys and girls in the U.S.
- The HPV vaccine has been studied and monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more than 10 years.
- The HPV vaccine has been found to provide safe and effective protection. Many people who get the HPV vaccine have no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects, like a sore arm from the shot. The most common side effects are usually mild.
- No serious safety concerns have been linked to HPV vaccination.
Hear from a family physician about why, as a doctor and a parent, he is making sure each of his children receive the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.
Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure your child is protected against HPV-related cancers!
- HPV Vaccine Infographic - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- HPV Vaccine for Preteens and Teens: Fact Sheet for Parents - CDC (Español: La vacuna contra el VPH para preadolescentes y adolescentes)
- HPV and Cancer - National Cancer Institute
- HPV Vaccine is Safe - CDC, Department of Health and Human Services USA, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics
- A Parent’s Guide to Preteen and Teen HPV Vaccination - Immunization Action Coalition
- Vaccinate Your Family, a program of Every Child By Two
- The Link Between HPV and Cancer (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions about HPV Vaccine (CDC)
- HPV Survivor Stories - ShotByShot.org
About the Alliance for HPV Free Colorado
The Alliance for HPV Free Colorado is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to address cancer. Members include Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health and Environment, Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Northeast Colorado Health Department, Tri-County Health Department, and Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment.
This campaign is supported by the Cancer, Cardiovascular and Chronic Pulmonary Disease Grants Program.
If you are a healthcare provider, visit our HPV Information for Providers Page.