PORTLAND -- For years, doctors have recommended that young girls get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. Now the Centers for Disease Control is recommending that young boys get the shot as well.
"My daughter had the HPV vaccine when she was 12. and she got all 3 shots in the series, and I'm thinking I will definitely get it for my son," said mom Karen Piacentini.
Dr. Stephanie McAndrew with The Multnomah County Health Department said the vaccine prevents four types of HPV which cause genital warts and cervical cancer in women. The latest research suggests it can also prevent serious forms of genital cancer in men.
"That's one benefit," said McAndrew. "The other is that if we can vaccinate the males so they won't get HPV, then they won't give HPV to the females."
And that means less cervical cancer, which killed 40 women in Oregon last year, according to statistics shared with KGW by Dr. Jennifer Vines, also with the Multnomah County Health Department.
"The biggest shame is that (cervical cancer) is almost all entirely preventable between routine pap smears, and this miracle that is the HPV vaccine,” said Vines.
Doctors said the vaccine is most effective when taken before patients become sexually active, and when the recommended series of three shots is completed.
Doctors said another concern is that many kids fail to complete the three-shot series, as recommended.