BRYANT, Ark.- It’s been just over a year now since the FDA expanded the age for those approved to get the HPV vaccine.
Local doctors say the new recommendation is important in preventing certain cancers and diseases.
“There’s a good number of people out there we feel like we can catch,” says Dr. James Robb, an OBGYN.
In an effort to prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers, the FDA has broadened the age range for the HPV vaccine from ages 9 to 26 years old to up to 45 years of age.
“There’s still benefit even beyond 26 years of age of getting the vaccine,” says Dr. Robb.
Robb is with the Central Arkansas Women’s Group in Bryant and says he’s recommended it to a few patients he’s seen who are above the age of 26.
“It’s so prevalent that almost everybody is exposed to it in some point of their life,” Robb says.
Robb says research has shown that 80 percent of women are known to be exposed to Human Papillomavirus.
A lot of times, people don’t know they have it.
It’s recommended that boys and girls can get vaccinated by age 9.
“Vaccinating the boys, it will prevent some cancers for them, rectal cancers, penal cancers,” says Dr. Wendy Bennett, an APRN. “But the most common cancer HPV causes is cervical cancers.”
The virus is sexually transmitted, and doctors say most people will have some strain of it at some point in their life.
That’s why Robb continues to educate patients about the importance of the vaccine with the new age group.
“The more HPV we can prevent, the better in terms of cervical cancer,” Robb says.
There is treatment for cervical cancer.
Doctors recommend women get regular pap smears.
To see if you’ll benefit from the vaccine, speak with your doctor.