If there were a vaccine that could prevent cancer, would you want your child to have it? 14 million Americans become newly infected with HPV each year. The high-risk strains are directly linked to 27,000 new cancers every year.
The HPV vaccine has been available for 10 years, but the latest statistics from the CDC show only 40% of teenage girls and 22% of boys have gotten all three doses. The nation's leading cancer doctors say the biggest obstacle is pediatricians who don't strongly recommend the vaccine.
So now oncologists are reaching out to primary-care physicians and consumers throughout the country. They're sharing stories about the painful or deadly consequences of cancer caused by HPV and reiterating that the vaccine is safe.
Even with underuse, a CDC study published earlier this year showed that HPV infection was reduced by almost two-thirds among teenage girls. It's hard to think about your child growing up and having sex, but it's worse to imagine them developing cancer.