Cervical Cancer Vaccine Now Available

Cervical cancer affects nearly 10,000 women in the U.S. each year. Gardasil is a new vaccine that can decrease a young woman's chance of getting cervical cancer or genital warts in her lifetime. This vaccine protects against four common strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts, and is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Three-quarters of sexually active individuals will become infected with HPV in their lifetime, and newly sexually active adolescents are the most vulnerable to infection. Those who receive the vaccine should continue to have annual Pap tests, since the vaccine does not protect against all HPV strains that can cause cervical cancer. The vaccine is recommended for girls and young women ages 11 to 26 years of age, regardless of sexual activity. The vaccine is less effective if there has been prior HPV exposure, therefore for best results, girls should be vaccinated before becoming sexually active. The vaccine is an injection and is given in three doses over 6 months. Gardasil will be available at your Doctor's office and through federal vaccination programs. Ask your Doctor if Gardasil is right for you. More information is online at www.cancer.org and www.gardasil.com.