AUSTIN (KXAN) — About 9,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancers of the throat and mouth that may be caused by HPV every year, according to the CDC. Of those diagnosed, men are four times more likely to get them than women.
Doctors, like Rachel Brightwell from Austin Cancer Centers, says it highlights the importance of vaccinating boys at the recommended ages of 11-12.
“Why would you want your children to have to go through that? Cervical cancer, penile cancer, head and neck cancers are devastating, they are disfiguring, it will affect you’re ability to have children and families,” Dr. Brightwell says.
In May, KXAN aired a special report showing few children were actually getting the HPV vaccine.
Dr. Brightwell says many parents think a vaccine at a young age could mean a free pass at sex, but she argues the vaccine will protect a person for the rest of their life. Dr. Brightwell says many parents also ask about the need for a vaccine if their children don’t have multiple sexual partners in life.
“OK, I have one sexual partner, but that person had 2 and those 2 had 2 each and so you’re actually getting a much larger exposure then just your one sexual partner,” Dr. Brightwell said. “The fact of the matter is about 85 percent of the world’s population, will have been exposed to some form of HPV in their lifetime.”
The CDC advises boys and girls get the three-dose HPV vaccine starting at age 11 or 12. The latest the CDC recommends is 21 years old for men and 26 years old for women.