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Cervical Cancer and the HPV Vaccine

You may have seen HPV ads during commercial breaks of Hannah Montana and Gossip Girl. But what exactly is HPV? And how is it linked to cervical cancer? Find out about it right here.

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is cancer of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women worldwide, and the eighth most common in the US. Even though statistics are high, you could have cervical cancer and not even know it because sometimes there are no symptoms. But possible signs include vaginal discharge and vaginal bleeding, even when you don't have your period.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is often caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 types of HPV, but most of them are pretty harmless, like the viruses that cause warts on your hands and feet. But about 40 types of HPV are sexually transmitted and affect the genitals, which can cause genital warts and even cervical cancer. If you think you have genital warts, see your doctor right away. The doctor will perform a gynecological exam called a Pap smear, which takes a swab of cells from the cervix to check for any abnormalities. It's a good idea to get a Pap smear every year after you become sexually active or turn 21, whichever comes first.

Who Gets the HPV Vaccine?

On June 8, 2006, the FDA approved the world's first vaccine against cervical cancer. Gardasil, which protects against four types of HPV, is recommended for girls aged nine to 26 before they become sexually active. But the vaccine won't protect you against all the different types of HPV, so it's important to continue to get checked by your doctor often and get annual Pap tests.

Did U Know?

  • The HPV vaccine is pretty expensive. It costs $360 US for three shots over a six month period.
  • January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a time to bring awareness to a disease that's more common than people think.
  • A.J., who was a contestant on the seventh season of America's Next Top Model, is a survivor of cervical cancer.
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Will You Get the HPV Vaccine?

  • Yes, I think it's important.
  • No, I don't think I need it.
  • I'll wait until I'm older.
  • I'm not sure yet.

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

drowning
I wouldn't recommend being the kind of person who gets between a couple, but I recommend not being the kind that doesn't be with who they want due to being worried of what others think. I would wait it off and see how things go with your friends' relationship. That or try and move on. Either would benefit you.
reply about 4 hours
OldManWith5Cats
I actually have five XD one is two, another one is ten. Fifteen 17 and then Thirty. I have no brothers
reply about 7 hours
unicornsrule626
Yes two. One 9 year old and one 22 year old
reply about 8 hours
Misunderstood15
I like this guy and he never tells you if he likes you back or not. He told me that he doesn't want to do long distance but flirts with me 
reply about 17 hours
Treyonna12
Well i had a crush but now he is my boyfrann and he wasn't really my rush sooo i mean  WHATEVER  buttt yea he is the best boyfrann someone could have he DOESN'T CHEAT like some of yall or he DOESN'T TEXT OTHER GIRLS OR BOYS (just saying) but yeah bye i'm in school
reply about 17 hours