This HPV vaccine is aimed at protecting your child from certain cancers

This HPV vaccine is aimed at protecting your child from certain cancers

The vaccine helps in the fight against various cancers.

HPV vaccine
HPV vaccine

Cancer contributes to millions of deaths around the globe. Our World in Data reports that 'about ten million people die from cancer every year'. 

The HPV vaccine aims to reduce this. This is after statistics showed that HPV causes more than 90% of cervical and anal cancers, 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and more than 60% of penile cancers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mayo Clinic states that 'various strains of HPV spread through sexual contact and are associated with most cases of cervical cancer.'

READ: How to prevent contracting malaria

How the HPV vaccine works

The vaccine is given to children from the age of 11 to 12. They are to be given two doses six to twelve months apart. If taken after 15 years, three doses need to be given. 

The vaccine helps in the fight against the following cancers:

- Vaginal cancer. According to NHS, 'vaginal cancer is nearly always caused by an infection from certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV)'. This type of cancer is very rare and only accounts for 1% to 2% of cancers in the female genital tract, and a very small portion of cancers overall, reports American Cancer Society. 

- Vulvar cancer. This type of cancer occurs on the outer surface area of the female genitalia and is mostly diagnosed in elderly women. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, vulvar cancer accounts for 0.6 percent of all cancers in women.

- Anal cancers. 

- Mouth, throat, head and neck cancers in women and men.

In South Africa, the HPV vaccination was introduced in 2014 as part of the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP) and many school children, especially in public schools, have benefited from it. 

READ: Doctor explains the benefits of getting the flu vaccine

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Disclaimer: Health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor on any health-related issues.

Image courtesy of iStock/ @Manjurul

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