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Myths and truths about the HPV vaccine, which protects men and women against various types of cancers

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In March, we celebrate International HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Awareness Day. We take advantage of the date to highlight a very important subject: HPV is a risk factor for cancers of the cervix, anus, vagina, oropharynx, vulva and penis and there is a vaccine with scientifically proven efficacy against this virus.

We celebrate International HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Awareness Day on March 4th. We take this opportunity to underline a very important theme: HPV is a risk factor for cervical, anal, vaginal, oropharyngeal, vulvar and penile lesions and there is a vaccine of proven scientific efficacy against this virus.

“Despite the availability of an HPV vaccine in the public health system, for girls ages 9-14 and boys ages 11-14, many families still fail to get their children vaccinated, influenced by prejudice and misinformation”, explains the oncologist. Andréa Paiva Gadêlha Guimarães Clinic, of the Institute of Urology, Oncology and Robotic Surgery (IUCR).

To help raise awareness of the importance of HPV vaccination, we have raised some myths and truths on the subject with the specialist. Check it out below:

  1. The HPV vaccine prevents many types of cancer.

Truth. HPV is the main risk factor for cervical cancer. The virus is associated with 99.8% of cases of this oncological disease and the vaccine is effective against this virus. And not only that, the HPV virus is also responsible for 80-90% of anal cancer cases; 60% of cases of vaginal cancer; 25-35% of oropharyngeal cancer cases; 40% of vulvar cancer cases; 40 to 50% of penile cancer cases.

  1. Boys don’t need the HPV vaccine, only girls

Myth. Men also contract HPV and must be vaccinated to prevent infection and not be transmission channels for women. It should be mentioned that HPV, although it is better known as a risk factor for cervical cancer, also increases the chances of developing cancer of the penis, anus and oral cavity.

  1. The HPV vaccine can cause paralysis, neurological diseases, infertility, early menopause.

Myth. The HPV vaccine is effective and safe.

  1. The vaccine must be administered before the start of sexual life.

Truth. The vaccine should be applied before the risk of contracting the virus, as it is a sexually transmitted virus. For this reason, it is important to follow the medical recommendation: vaccinate girls aged 9 to 14 and boys aged 11 to 14. In these age groups, the effectiveness is higher and only two doses are recommended. From the age of 15, three doses should be administered.

  1. Even while taking the vaccine, should a woman maintain a routine Pap test for cervical cancer screening?

Truth. Yes, women who have been vaccinated against HPV should have a Pap smear to identify and treat early precursor lesions that can lead to the development of cancer.

  1. Only Brazil uses the HPV vaccine in public vaccination programs.

Myth. The HPV vaccine is being adopted by several countries and is part of the World Health Organization’s strategy to eradicate cervical cancer worldwide by 2030.

  1. By vaccinating my children against HPV, I will boost their sex life early

Myth. The vaccine is a protective factor against HPV, therefore against various types of cancers linked to this virus. There are several scientific studies around the world that prove that there is no relationship between HPV vaccination and early onset of sex life or any risky behavior.

  1. If a person uses a condom during sex, they don’t have to worry about HPV

Myth. The use of condoms during sexual intercourse is important, but this measure does not prevent HPV infection, because the virus can be present in areas not protected by condoms (vulva, pubic region, perineum or scrotum).

  1. In the public system, the vaccine is also available for adults, in special situations.

Truth. In addition to children and adolescents, the vaccine is recommended and available in the public system for men up to age 26 and women up to age 45 who are HIV-positive, have solid organ or bone marrow transplant recipients, or are undergoing treatment for HIV. the cancer. In this case, three doses are recommended, the second dose being taken 2 months after the first dose and the third dose 6 months after the first dose.

ABOUT THE UICR – The Institute of Urology, Oncology and Robotic Surgery Dr. Gustavo Guimarães – IUCR, created in 2013, specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients. The medical team is made up of highly specialized professionals in uro-oncology, surgical oncology and clinical oncology, under the direction of surgical oncologist Dr. Gustavo Guimarães, who has more than 20 years of experience and dedication in patient care, teaching and scientific research in this field.

Guimarães has developed extensive experience in minimally invasive technologies and procedures such as laparoscopic surgery, focused ultrasound of high intensity-HIFU and robotic surgeryhaving developed a coherence Consulting and training program in robotic surgery for healthcare facilities across the country, which encompasses implementation, development of various surgical techniques and training of teams.

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