HPV vaccine for boys?!?

By: Holly L. Thacker, MD • Posted on October 27, 2011

HPV vaccine for boys?!?

The HPV vaccine has been approved for boys. Yes, that is right! HPV, also known as human papilloma virus, causes NOT only cervical cancer, but other cancers, such as throat cancer, anal cancer, some lung cancers as well as very pesky skin problems, such as warts, including genital warts.

Our best cancer screening test is the pap smear. We now know that almost all cervical cancer is caused by certain strains of HPV. This is not a "sex vaccine," but a cancer vaccine! All three of my teen sons have been vaccinated. Vaccines reduce infection risk, which reduces misery, infection and death rates. Many people do not avail themselves of the benefits of the vaccine. We hope to soon have vaccines against breast cancer and prostate cancer. One of our future bloggers, Dr. Kristi Tough, a senior women's health fellow, will discuss the breast cancer vaccine she has worked on.

The HPV vaccine was first approved for girls and young women and has been approved now for young males. This is a well-studied vaccine. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misunderstandings about vaccines. My teen son, Stetson, got the right information and for years wore his "one less" T shirt, meaning one less cancer. One less cancer in any female or male is a beautiful thing!

- Dr. Holly L. Thacker