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HPV vaccine for your child can prevent cancer later in life

Dr. Daryn Collins encourages parents to consider the HPV vaccine for their children.

Parents want the best for their child, including the best health they can provide for the long term, into adulthood. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is extremely common and every year, in the United States, HPV causes more than 30,000 cases of cancer in men and women. Ensuring that their child has the HPV vaccine, along with other standard childhood vaccines, is one way parents can help protect their children and provide them with better health long term.

Nine out of 10 HPV infections, if left untreated, will resolve themselves within two years. However, ten percent of the time, an HPV infection lasts longer and causes cancer.

In women, HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva. In men, it can cause cancer of the penis. In both men and women, it can cause cancer of the anus, back of the throat, tongue and tonsils. The HPV vaccine can prevent most of the cancers caused by HPV if it is given before exposure to the virus.

“We recommend that boys and girls receive the HPV vaccine beginning at age 11. The HPV vaccine is given at the same time as vaccines that help protect against meningitis and whooping cough,” said Daryn Collins, MD, MPH, an internal medicine/pediatric specialist at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC). “The HPV vaccine can be given safely as early as age 9. Children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 14 at the time of initial vaccination receive a total of two doses of the vaccine separated by at least six months. When the first vaccine is administered at age 15 or older, a three-dose series is needed to provide optimal protection against HPV.”

Recent data suggest that 56 percent of adolescents age 13 to 17 in Minnesota have received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine and only 38 percent have completed the full HPV vaccine series.

“We need to work together to improve these rates to provide optimal protection for our children and adolescents,” Collins said.

To find out more about HPV vaccine, go to allinahealth.org. To schedule an appointment with your child’s physician for the HPV vaccine, call 507-217-5011 or go to account.allinahealth.org.

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