The HPV vaccine prevents cancer

The HPV vaccine prevents cancer

Debbie Saslow, Ph.D., reviewed this document.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancer in:

  • The cervix (cervical cancer)
  • The vagina (vaginal cancer)
  • The vulva (vulvar cancer)
  • The anus (anal cancer)
  • The penis (cancer of the penis)
  • The head and neck (oropharyngeal cancer)

Despite this there is good news!

If given early enough, HPV vaccines can prevent over 90% of these cancers.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

  • Preadolescents: The HPV vaccine can start at age 9, but the CDC recommends routine vaccinations at about age 11 to 12 for all children.
  • Unvaccinated adolescents and adults up to 26 years of age
  • Some adults up to 45 years old after consulting their doctor

The HPV vaccine works best when given before you get the disease. You can get the vaccine later, but it may not work as well or it may be less effective because you may already have some form of HPV.

HPV vaccination schedule

The HPV vaccine has a schedule of 2 or 3 doses, depending on your age.

2 doses:

  • For people who receive their first dose before the age of 15
  • The second dose should be applied 6 to 12 months after the first

3 doses:

  • For people who have not received their first dose before the age of 15
  • Dose 2: 1 to 2 months after the first
  • Dose 3: 6 to 12 months after the 1st

Didn’t get a dose on time? Don’t worry.

There is no maximum amount of time between doses. You may still get the next one if you haven’t applied in time, but try not to take too long.

Don’t stop getting tested for cervical cancer

HPV vaccines reduce the risk of some types of cancer, but they don’t eliminate it completely. You can still get HPV after getting vaccines because they don’t offer protection against all types of HPV. It is still important to get screened for cervical cancer regularly.

This resource has been prepared with support from Merck.

From articles on your site
  • Preventive health screenings for women ›
  • Human papilloma virus, HPV ›
  • Cervical cancer screening can save your life ›
  • A Conversation on HPV and Cervical Cancer Screening ›
  • Quick Facts: Here’s What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer and HPV ›
Related articles Around the web