11 Facts About HPV and Cervical Cancer

Before you decide whether or not to have your pre-teen vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus), you may want to read about Christine Baze’s battle with cervical cancer.

Don’t have kids that age? You may still want to read Christine’s story. The National Cancer Institute says HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get the virus at some point in their lives.

Here are more facts about HPV and Cervical Cancer:

  1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the most commonly sexually transmitted infections in the U.S.
  2. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and HPV is so common that most sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
  3. HPV is spread by intimate skin-to-skin contact; oral or genital infection can occur without sexual intercourse. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
  4. The main cause of cervical cancer is HPV. Other cancers that HPV causes are anal, oropharyngeal (throat and mouth), penile, vaginal and vulvar. HPV also causes genital warts.
  5. The HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of contracting certain types of HPV-related cancers by up to 99 percent, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  6. Because preteens have a higher immune response to the vaccine, it’s recommended both girls and boys receive the vaccine when they are 11 to 12 years old; it’s most effective before they are sexually active.
  7. If they did not get vaccinated when they were younger, young women through age 26 and young men through age 21 can receive the HPV vaccination.
  8. The CDC recommends vaccination up to age 26 for certain populations, including those who have certain immunocompromising conditions and males who identify as gay or bisexual or young adults who are transgender.
  9. Millions of people have received the HPV vaccine without serious side effects,
  10. Kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to 12 months apart. Adolescents who receive two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine. Teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 years need three doses of the HPV vaccine.
  11. For women age 21 to 65, the US Preventive Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer with cytology (Pap smear) every three years; for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, the USPTF recommends screening with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every five years. These recommendations are under review and expected to be updated in 2018.


Unless noted otherwise, these facts are attributed to the Centers for Disease Control.

Jan Caster

Jan Caster

A transplanted Oklahoman, Jan Caster has lived in Central New York more than anywhere else. She’s married and has a terrific son and three wonderful stepchildren. She enjoys reading (and listening to) fiction and non-fiction and has been known to binge watch exceptional TV series like “Fargo” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” Jan rekindled her passion for yoga four years ago and practices it every day. She likes to walk and hopes to soon own another rescue dog. Her guilty pleasure is reading advice columns. She’s been a member of the Corporate Communications team at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for almost 15 years.
Jan Caster

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