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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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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

CoolerThanMyself
I'm a 12 year old girl with really strict parents! I do chores( even handling BLEACH sometimes) , I take care of my little brother, I'm in top set for all my classes- even on the gifted and talented register and I've only ever had 1 detention- and that was their fault anyway bc I was late( they drive). But, I'm still NEVER allowed out with my friends! My friends are all in top sets as well, are well behaved and all we literally would do is window shopping. I mean, there are my age smoking shisha and doing #####- they should be lucky I'm not a delinquent! But my parents always say I can't hang out. Not because they're worried about my safety, they just dont want me to go out.! Even sleepovers, my parents always say no because they ' haven't met the parents" but they make NO effort to do so. I'm losing out on knowing my friends better and whilst they're all making best friends, at school I'm just the person in the background- the left out friend. It hurts and most of the time I wish I was fostered or something. How can I make them loosen up? ( don't say anything about sneaking out because I chose life)
reply about 19 hours
Corps
Corps posted in Style:
Thank You Mate :)
reply 1 day
Kirsteeeeen
Kirsteeeeen posted in Friends:
Is there a particular reason or situation causing you to feel this way? I can't provide much advice other than talk to them about it. Communication is important.
reply 1 day
Arenl
Arenl posted in Friends:
He is a jerk, but then what ?? He is your best friend . Maybe you should tell him to sleep for an extra hour. It may be a lack of sleep.
reply 1 day
KittyCheshire
KittyCheshire posted in Friends:
My BFFEL (best friend for eternal life) is being a jerk after we have been friends for a long time. What should I do?
reply 1 day