Preventing cervical cancer: Doctor advises both women, men get HPV vaccine
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and physicians and organizations are hoping to get the word out about what both women and men can do to stay healthy.
According to the CDC, nearly 12,000 women living in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and more than 4,000 women die from the disease, even with screening and treatment.
But, doctors do say the disease is preventable.
As of this year, there are three vaccines currently licensed and FDA-approved for cervical cancer prevention.
"Gardasil 9 protects against nine different subtypes of the HPV virus and there is almost 100 percent protection against those nine different subtypes of the virus,” says Dr. Kari Hacker at NYU Langone Brooklyn Medical Arts Pavilion.
Dr. Hacker says approval has recently been extended so that women and men from nine to 45 years old can now get that vaccine.
She says it is important for men to be vaccinated too since women frequently contract the virus from men.
According to the CDC, there is no approved test for HPV in men.
"Other countries where they do a better job of vaccinating like Australia, they have almost eliminated pre-cervical cancer lesions and cervical cancer in young girls,” says Dr. Hacker.
Besides getting the vaccine, Dr. Hacker adds it's important women get routine screenings.
"Between 21 and 29, we recommend cervical cancer screening with a pap smear every three years and once women are above age 30 we recommend a pap smear with HPV testing every five years,” says Dr. Hacker.
Just a few ways to keep yourself, and those around you healthy.