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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?

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

CoolAsalah
my grandma passed away 2 months ago. I cant stop crying. i miss her so badl.everything reminds me of her.she was so sweet ad loving. how can i stop crying/thinking about her??
reply about 1 hour
AVENGERSASSEMBLE
I hardly ever get to see my bff anymore and she lives less than 5 mins up the road :( :( :(
reply about 16 hours
guppiGirl443
 [s:p/1s1e] :thumbsup :angel Hey people its lssy, i have been struggling with helping my best friends with there parents that are violently fitting and where just lost and so confused . im trying so hard to keep up everybody's mood up .i just want them to be positive even though its hard i want them to realize that there are pros and cons to this . so all people out there maybe going through things like this just know there are a billion kids like u out there so when we grow up lets be nothing like our parents, lets be there better version, lets be our better version.! PS: what are somethings i can do to help them out????
reply 2 days
orlibird
I totally feel the same way. The one guy I thought was interested friend-zoned me, so I've been kind of closed to relationships. One thing I've learned is not to jump into a relationship just because everyone else is. Just think, in 20 years they'll have all these bad memories of their many relationships, and you'll learn from their mistakes. Wanting to be in a relationship doesn't make you desperate either. You just feel a little left out. Trust me, I've been there. Don't feel alone. Being single, well, sucks, but don't worry, we've got your back, and I just know there's someone out there waiting to meet you.
reply 3 days
orlibird
orlibird posted in Family Issues:
Hi everyone! I'm starting at a new school next year and I'm wondering if you have any tips. The thing is, it's my first ever year at a public school. I'm joining the 8th grade, so I'm so scared that everyone already knows eachother and I won't make any friends... :( If you have ANY advice or tips, I'd really appreciate it!
reply 3 days