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Meredith Wadman -- Three shots that could stop cancer

8/26/2014

Charleston Daily Mail
By Meredith Wadman

Not so long ago, when my sons still had smooth cheeks and children’s voices, I had them vaccinated against human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease.

It was late 2011, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had just recommended that boys join girls in being vaccinated at age 11 or 12. I was certainly receptive: HPV, as it’s commonly called, causes cervical cancer, cancer of the tonsils, cancer of the back of the tongue and, less often, cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus and penis.

It seemed important to ensure that my kids were protected.

Yet numbers released last month by the CDC show that my sons, now 14 and 15, are among a small minority of adolescent males who have been vaccinated.

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