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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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-Gwen9--
-Gwen9-- posted in Friends:
"jordand08" wrote:Thank you.You're welcome. :)
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donteatcarrots
talk to the person you're closest too. yes, you said you don't get close with people, but there's probably one person who you speak to more often than others- talk to that person.
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donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Don't worry too much- it's only your first relationship- but I'd sit down with him at one point, and discuss what makes you uncomfortable, eg; if you know what I mean...
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donteatcarrots
donteatcarrots posted in Friends:
Probably sound a little stereotypical, but the majority of boys don't really act like that... Ask him :p
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kittenkid
First: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T KILL YOUSELF! When you get past this you'll be glad. Well, this is just my opinion, but I think you should first find someone, anyone, even if you don't trust them, if there're your parents talk to them about it. I bet a bunch of people have already told you this but there're right. Before you walk up to them, write down what you're going to say and then think of a few questions they might ask and write down the answers to them. Remember to tell them that it might take you a minute to think of an answer. Before you answer, think of the exact words you will say  before you say anything, and think in your mind about it. Think about wether it is a lie or not before you say it. If it gets out of you mouth before you realize it is a lie, don't be afraid to say so and just say the truth. Also, just try to find something you like to do that will take your mind off everything. If you really can't think of anything, try just practicing saying your feelings to yourself, or a pillow or something.  Hope this helps!
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