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This Vaccine Can Prevent Cancer, But Many Teenagers Still Don't Get It

February 19, 2018

Each year, about 31,000 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with a cancer caused by an infection from the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It's the most common sexually transmitted virus and infection in the U.S.

In women, HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer, which leads to about 4,000 deaths per year. In men, it can cause penile cancer. HPV also causes some cases of oral cancer, cancer of the anus and genital warts.

The CDC says HPV vaccination can prevent many of these cancers, and urges pediatricians to recommend HPV vaccination for all their patients, beginning at age 11.

But a new analysis from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association finds only 29 percent of the teens its members insure receive a first dose of the HPV vaccine by their 13th birthday. And the CDC finds, nationally, only 43 percent of teens are up-to-date on all the recommended doses of the vaccine.

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