By: Dr. Daniel Bahnmiller, DO, Columbia Shores OBGYN
Recent changes have altered the age of receiving the HPV vaccine from ages of 9-25 to the ages of 9-45. This is exciting news, since high risk HPV accounts for causing over 99% of cervical cancers. HPV 16, and 18, which are two of the strains covered by the vaccine account for 50% and 20% of cervical cancers caused by HPV. This in turn will reduce cervical cancer up to 70%, depending on the number of women vaccinated, which is significant since cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women.
Pap smears have reduced cervical cancer up to 80%, but these programs are expensive and are limited to those who have access. HPV vaccine prevention costs much less and has the potential to reach not only those with access, but those without. So the compliment of pap smears and HPV vaccination offers a bright future of significantly reducing cervical cancer.