Here are five reasons your child needs to get vaccinated for HPV, the human papillomavirus, according to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health:
- Cancer screening tests will not protect your child from most cancers related to HPV.
- There is no treatment for HPV infection.
- More than 90 percent of HPV-related cancers are prevented by vaccination.
- The vaccine works better when given at the recommended ages of 11 to 12 years and before infection with the virus.
- The vaccine can safely be given with the tetanus and meningitis shots.
For educators, a curriculum that teaches about head and neck cancer
The Upstate Cancer Center offers a cancer prevention educational curriculum for people who teach secondary school students.
Physicians, researchers and caregivers created a self-guided education and advocacy program focused on head and neck cancer. The materials cover causes, prevention and how to minimize risk factors through smart lifestyle choices, including vaccination against HPV.
The curriculum includes a script paired with a digital presentation, HPV fact sheet, worksheets and an award-winning documentary, “beneath the surFACE.” The documentary focuses on an art project in which students in seven school districts transformed patients’ radiation therapy masks into art.
Patients with head and neck cancers are typically treated with a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. To receive radiation therapy, patients are fitted with a polymer mesh mask that conforms to their head and neck during treatment. They can keep the masks after treatment is complete, but many patients decline.
Matt Capogreco, program and events coordinator at the cancer center, connected with high school art teachers who have their students decorate the leftover radiation masks as a school project.
Click here for more on the cancer prevention curriculum. Further information is available from Capogreco at 315-464-3605.
This article appears in the winter 2019 issue of Cancer Care magazine.