Parents should investigate HPV Vaccine - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Parents should investigate HPV Vaccine

February 5, 2007

Albany-  Texas touched off a national debate over mandatory vaccinations for the Human Papilloma Virus. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer. In south Georgia, the American Cancer Society and local doctors say it should not be mandatory, but it's something every mother should question their daughter's doctor about if they're 16 or younger.

Donna Strickland knows all too well the devastating affects of cervical cancer.

"I had to go through several different surgeries then constantly running tests to see where it was at or how far it had spread, it eventually came down to having a complete hysterectomy," said Donna Strickland.

Now cancer-free it's something Donna hopes her 10 year old daughter Harli can avoid with the new Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine. It's recommended for girls between 9 and 13 but must be given before they become sexually active which makes them susceptible to the cancer causing virus.

"Absolutely, It's terrible for anyone to go through especially a young child," said Strickland.

Albany's chapter of the American Cancer Society has had few questions about the controversial vaccine.

"We thought we might have some calls most people are already contacting their local physicians," said Marjorie Mayfield, American Cancer Society Area manager.

Oncologist's say it's something every mother should question for their pre-teen daughters.

"This is critically important because this vaccine prevents the cervical cancer which is actually the second leading cause of death across the globe," said Dr. Chirag Jani, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Oncologist.

While Dr. Jani and the American Cancer Society agree it doesn't need to be made mandatory for young Georgians, like Texas has done, both say since it's 80 percent effective, mothers need to investigate.

It's exactly what Donna Strickland plans to do.

"If it could prevent her from going through what I went through then I think I would definitely go with that," said Strickland.

The vaccine is costly, $360 for the three doses. The American Caner Society assured us most insurance providers are covering 100 percent of the cost because it is a preventative measure, but you should check with your insurance provider before agreeing to the vaccine.

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