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New HPV vaccine guidelines focused on stopping the spread at an early age

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As you get your kids' back-to-school exams, new American cancer society guidelines suggest they should get the HPV shot at a younger age.

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus.

A local pediatrician says the hope is to further prevent the spread of certain cancer at an early age.

The HPV vaccines protect against certain cancers caused by a virus that spreads through sexual contact.

The new guidelines encourage doctors to start vaccinating children at a younger age between the ages of nine and 12.

The other new guideline endorses catch-up vaccinations for people through the age of 26 who are not up to date.

"Even at an early age of 9-years-old it works just as well, if not better than if you're a teenager," Dr. Dennis Go at Quincy Medical Group said. "It's another vaccine to get out of the way because if you wait until 9th grade, that exam needs a lot of vaccines then."

He adds if you start younger, you only need two doses of the vaccine and not three.

Doctors also want parents to know that this vaccination isn't just for girls, it's for boys too.

Dr. Go said he was on a recent online seminar that showed there is a rise of men dying from cancers related to HPV.

"One of the reasons is that women are used to surveillance testing and they are used to going to the gynecologist to do a pap smear and things like that," Go said. "Men don't have anything like that. Once a man gets HPV cancers, it is in [the] late stages and can't be treated."

The CDC says HPV vaccination prevents new infections that may cause cancer but does not treat existing ones. The HPV vaccine works best when given before any exposure to the virus.

HPV vaccination does not need to be discussed with most adults over age 26 and it is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

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Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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