HPV—the human papillomavirus—sounds scary, and it certainly can be. While the CDC estimates that nearly 80 million people are infected with HPV, some never show any symptoms of the illness. However, a large number of people with HPV, nearly 30,700 men and women, do end up with a form of cancer caused by HPV. The most common forms of cancer include cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva, cancer of the penis, and cancers of the anus and back of the throat. Luckily, there is a vaccine available that helps in the fight against cancers caused by HPV. The shot is recommended between ages 11 and 12, but can start as young as age 9 and be given as late as 26 for women and 21 for men.
That Sounds Great – What Are The Drawbacks?
A recent study presented at the latest American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting reported an unintended consequence of the rise in the HPV vaccine. The study showed that women who were vaccinated against HPV were less likely to adhere to the recommendations to get regular cervical cancer screening as a part of their annual gynecological exams. The study conclusions advised that all women over age 21 do need to get regular Pap smears, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated against HPV.
When Should I Visit My Gynecologist Or OB?
The Woman’s Clinic sees patients as young as 16 for annual exams, screenings, and vaccines, depending on their current health and their family history. The recommendations vary based on many factors, so if you’re wondering how that applies to you, contact The Woman’s Clinic today to set up an appointment for you or a family member. Preventative care should always be prioritized, which is why yearly wellness exams are so crucial. HPV is a big factor in women’s health, but there are so many other illnesses and conditions that are diagnosed through regular pelvic exams. If you’re a new patient, visit The Woman’s Clinic online to complete our new patient forms and contact us today to schedule your next exam.