Mayo Clinic surgeon: HPV vaccination can help prevent more than one type of cancer

Doctors want parents to know that a vaccine for kids helps fight more than one kind of cancer.

The Human Papilloma Virus, known as HPV, can lead to throat cancer. It's also the lead cause of cervical cancer.

Dr. Geoffrey Young, a head and neck surgeon at Mayo Clinic, told Action News Jax that people who get the HPV vaccine are more likely to reduce their chances of getting the HPV-derived throat cancer.

“If you had an opportunity to prevent cancer now, take it,” Young said.

He said the best way to aid in prevention is to get children vaccinated at an early age.

“I think it’s important to look at these vaccines as cancer-preventative vaccines," Young said. "We have a vaccine that has the ability to prevent certain multiple types of cancer in both men and women."

HPV is also the most common sexually transmitted infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC website said people can get HPV by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus.

HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

Young said when people do develop cancerous tumors in the throat, they no longer have to do a lengthy procedure to remove these cancerous tumors.

“Their jaw would actually have to be split and divided to be moved out of the way to gain access back to the area,” Young said.

For those who are operable, the da Vinci Surgical System allows surgeons to perform operations through a few small incisions. The robotic instruments bend and rotate far greater than a human hand, enabling surgeons to reach those tight spots.

Young told us these vaccines need to be given to children at a young age to help prevent throat cancer when they’re adults.

The CDC now recommends 11- to 12-year-olds get two doses of the HPV vaccine, rather than the previously recommended three doses.

The second dose should be given six to 12 months after the first dose.

For more information on the updated recommendations, visit the CDC website.

Mayo Clinic last year released a question and answer segment on HPV vaccination series.