Most cervical cancers are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV). Vaccines are available to help prevent infection by certain types of HPV and some of the cancers linked to those types.
Vaccines can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus
It also helps protect women against genital warts and rarer HPV-related cancers, such as:
- anal cancer
- genital cancers
- cancers of the head and neck
What is HPV?
HPV is the name given to a very common group of viruses.
There are many types of HPV, some of which are called “high risk” because they’re linked to the development of cancers, such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, genital cancers, and cancers of the head and neck.
Who should be vaccinated against HPV and when?
HPV vaccine produces the strongest immune response in preteens. To work best, the HPV vaccines should be given at age 11 or 12, although it can be given as early as age 9. The vaccines are given in a series of shots.
HPV vaccination is also recommended for females and males aged 13 years or older who have not started the vaccines, or who have started but not completed the series.
Who should not get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who are moderately or severely ill. Also, people who have severe allergies, including an allergy to yeast or latex, should tell their doctor about their conditions before getting vaccinated.
HPV vaccine and Pap tests
The HPV vaccine isn’t intended to replace Pap tests. Routine screening for cervical cancer through regular Pap tests beginning at age 21 remains an essential part of a woman’s preventive health care.