January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and BCH primary care providers are urging parents to have children, boys and girls ages 11-12, vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV) -- a virus that causes most kinds of cervical cancer.

HPV vaccines protect against high-risk types of the virus that cause most cervical cancers. The HPV vaccination is cancer prevention.

In 2017, about 12,820 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. About 4,210 women will die from cervical cancer. Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, American Indians and Alaskan natives, and whites.

HPV vaccines prevent infection by certain types of the virus, but they work best if they are given before an infection occurs. This is why the American Cancer Society recommends it for girls and boys ages 11 to 12 – because the vaccines produce the strongest immune response at this age, and because most children at this age have not yet become sexually active. This is also an age when children still will be seeing their doctor regularly and getting other vaccinations. The vaccines are given in a series of shots. The vaccination series can be started as early as age 9.

Please call 303-415-4015 to make an appointment with a BCH primary care provider who can vaccinate your child against HPV.

HPV affects both men and women. Watch this video, from the American Cancer Society, with more details about the HPV vaccination, and to hear HPV survivor Frank Summers' story: