GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. And one thing we've learned in recent years about this deadly disease is there's a vaccine available that, if taken as recommended, can prevent most cases of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is designed to prevent the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that causes 70 to 80 percent of all cervical cancer cases.
That's why doctors, like Gulfport OB-GYN, David Taylor, M.D., say the vaccine is so important.
"There's a small portion of them that we consider genetic, but most are related to the HPV virus," Taylor said. "So prevention of that virus is key in decreasing cervical cancer rates."
Dr. Taylor said it's important to spread the word about the vaccine to help save lives.
"We would recommend everybody get it just like you get other vaccines when you're three months, four months, eight years, ten or twelve years old. It should be included in those."
The cervical cancer vaccines are given in a series of three injections over six months. Who should get the shots?
"Based on current guidelines from several organizations, we do recommend that females and males ages nine to 26 get the vaccine."
In addition to prevention through the vaccine, Dr. Taylor said early detection of cervical cancer is key. And following recommended guidelines for regular pap smear screenings for women continues to be important.
Learn more about the HPV and the HPV vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/