Though by now most people have heard about the new vaccines for girls that can prevent some cervical cancers, they are mostly worried about how to explain the purpose of the vaccines to their young teens at home. Firstly, it would help to begin with the basics where you can explain to her the various ways cancer can be triggered. It can be caused by virus, points out Robert Bortolussi, the chairman of Canadian Pediatric Society’s immunization and infectious diseases committee. Most of these viral infections occur in the early part of the woman’s life – in her teens or her 20s, although the cancer may not develop till she is 50 or 60. The offending virus has more than 30 different types and is called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The new vaccine is targeted at such HPVs which are more likely to cause cancer and genital warts.
The next question that comes up is, how exactly does one get HPV? The answer is, that the virus is almost entirely sexually transmitted. Thus, if one is sexually active, one needs to take the new HPV vaccine. However, Bortolussi explains that for the immunization to work, it is important that it is administered before the person is exposed to the virus. Thus, the vaccine is recommended for preteens and young teen girls, before they become sexually active.
A medical student in Halifax, Monique MacFarlane Conrad, conducted a research study about popular public opinion on the vaccine. She found out that many American parents were concerned that the vaccine might actually encourage preteens to indulge in sexual activities. Parents in Canada however rarely expressed such fears.
Further it was found out that 78 percent of parents said that they would approve of the vaccine if their family doctors recommended it to them. On the other hand, 72 percent of the teens who were surveyed, said that they would agree to get it. Most of the others who were surveyed were undecided about their opinion and said that they would most probably require further information about the degree of safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, before they agreed to try it.
While you are already having a heart-to-heart with your daughter about HPV, you could utilize the opportunity to talk to her about sexually transmitted diseases in general. While talking about sex and sexually transmitted diseases with your preteen daughter may make embarrassed, it cannot be denied that it is often easier to talk about sex with them when they are younger, before she’s sexually active herself and takes the talk personally