MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - August is Vaccine Awareness Month, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is making sure people know that there is a vaccine that prevents cancer.
St. Jude’s Dr. Dylan Graetz visited WMC Action News 5 Wednesday to talk about the importance of the HPV vaccine.
“The HPV vaccine is the only vaccine we have that prevents cancer,” said Graetz.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection. In many cases it’s harmless, but some types can lead to cancer.
Graetz says the HPV vaccine is best known for preventing cervical cancer, but it can also prevent various types of anal, genital, mouth and throat cancers.
The vaccine is approved for people up to age 45, but it’s recommended for women until 26 and men until 21. It’s a three-vaccine series, but if you get it before age 15 you’ll save yourself a shot.
The HPV vaccine is available at pediatricians’ offices and health departments, and it is covered by insurance.