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KMBC 9: Study shows HPV vaccine effective in protecting against some forms of cancer

By Kelly Eckerman

A vaccine to protect against some forms of cancer is proving very effective. The human papillomavirus vaccine recommended for pre-teens is linked to a more than 80% decline in infections. A Kansas City doctor says that's huge when it comes to saving lives.

The HPV vaccine was approved 15 years ago. Now, a 10-year study shows the effect it's having in protecting children right into adulthood. It's reducing transmission of the virus by as much as 88%. A virus linked to cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in men.

"I think that people have really realized that the vaccine is safe, that protection is phenomenal, and that the side effects really are very minimal to this vaccine," said Dr. Angela Myers, director of infectious diseases at Children's Mercy Hospital.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls at age 11 -- two doses six to 12 months apart.

The virus is a sexually transmitted infection. While it might seem an early age to vaccinate, that's when the body has proven to have the highest immune response.

"So, before we had this vaccine, we had 4,000 women every year in our country dying of cervical cancer, and that is completely preventable at this point. And so that's what we should be doing," Myers said.


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