Kids Health Matters: HPV recommendations

There is now a vaccine recommended for kids which can prevent cancer. However, the majority of American children aren't getting it.

While Mia and Noah Cruz work hard on achieving their dreams, their parents work on protecting their health.

They're making sure both children are vaccinated against HPV, the human papilloma virus.

Melissa Cruz said, "HPV can cause certain types of cancer, so it's a great prevention to consider."

Dr. Eileen Everly of Children's Hospital adds, "The idea to be able to prevent cancer with a vaccine is totally revolutionary."

She also says HPV-related cancers have been on the rise.

Yet barely 40% of girls and fewer than 30% per cent of boys have received the 2-shot vaccination.

Last week, the nation's leading cancer centers made a joint call, urging more parents to have their kids vaccinated.

HPV spreads through sexual contact, a topic parents may shy away from with pre-teens.

Dr. Everly says, "They want to say 'we don't need that right now.'"

Melissa and Edward Cruz says they've raised their children with a strong sense of right and wrong.

"As a Christian family, we do discuss the importance of waiting till they're married to have that kind of relationship," said Melissa.

But that's not a fail-safe.

Melissa continued, "There's really no way of knowing who they're going to marry, if they've had a partner in the past."

The HPV vaccine is almost 100% effective when it's given before adolescents become sexually active.

Doctors think making it a standard part of the vaccine schedule will help.

Dr. Everly says, "Hey, today, for Johnny's 11-year-old shots, he's getting a meningitis, he's getting an HPV, and he's getting a T-dap. Any questions?"

As a nurse, Melissa Cruz says people often get bad information from the internet about the vaccine.

She and her husband urge parents to talk to a trusted source, their pediatrician.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.