According to a new study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, an average of 43,999 HPV-associated cancers were reported nationwide each year from 2012-2016. Among the estimated 34,800 cancers most likely caused by HPV, 92 percent can be attributed to the HPV types that are included in the HPV vaccine and could have been prevented if HPV vaccine recommendations were followed.
HPV, also known as human papillomavirus, is a common virus that can lead to six types of cancers later in life. HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
CDC recommends all boys and girls get two doses of the HPV vaccine at ages 11 or 12. Children who get the first dose before their 15th birthday only need two doses. Children who get the first dose on or after their 15th birthday need three doses. The HPV vaccine is recommended for young adults up to age 26 if they didn’t get the vaccine as a teen.
According to the 2018 SC Health Assessment , South Carolina ranks in the lowest quartile nationally for adolescents having received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine. Talk to your child’s health care provider about getting the three recommended preteen vaccines, Tdap, HPV and meningitis vaccines. DHEC’s public health clinics also offer all teen vaccines.
For more information about CDC’s findings, visit cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0822-cancer-prevented-vaccine.html. To make your child an appointment at DHEC to receive the HPV vaccine and other recommended vaccines, visit https://scdhec.gov/health/health-public-health-clinics.