Getting Your Child The HPV Vaccine Can Prevent Cancer Later In Life

KDKA Radio's Marty Griffin is battling cancer caused by the virus

Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell
September 10, 2018 - 10:50 am

Andrew Limberg

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Marty Griffin has revealed he has throat cancer caused by the HPV virus. Marty says there wasn’t a vaccine when he was a child but now there is and it can save lives. That is why he is making his fight public so others don’t have to go through the long and painful process of treating it.

According to the CDC more than 80 million Americans carry the Human Papilloma Virus, that’s 1 out of every 4 people in this country.

Dr. Robert Ferris of the UPMC Hillman Cancer center joined Marty Griffin on KDKA Radio Monday to discuss how important it is for people to get the HPV vaccine.

“The vaccine prevents a number of different types of cancers all caused by this virus, many times folks don’t even imagine the virus is out there. We’re all exposed to it and it can lead to cancer down the road,” said Ferris.

Related: KDKA Radio's Marty Griffin: I have Squamous Cell Cancer

Dr. Ferris says a lot of people aware of cervical cancer but it’s the same type of HPV that causes throat cancer.

The vaccine prevents the HPV virus so it is believed if the infection is prevented the cancer is preventable as well.

Dr. Ferris says about half of throat cancer cases are because of HPV with smoking and heavy drinking being the reason for the other half of cases.

In addition to a treatment plan of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Dr. Ferris says it’s important to maintain a healthy diet and have a strong support system with the right attitude, “is key to get people through it because it’s a tough couple month.”

A lot of misconceptions have been made about the HPV vaccine. Dr. Ferris says some parents believe the vaccine can give their child license to be more promiscuous.

“The rates of whatever teenagers are going to do, this vaccine doesn’t have anything to do with that and I think it’s much more about parenting and counseling and having a good relationship with your kids, said Dr. Ferris. “Certainly we don’t position this vaccine as some sort of a STD; this is a cancer prevention vaccine.”

Another stigma of the HPV vaccine is that it causes autism. Dr. Ferris says that has been completely debunked.

“The fact of the matter is rates of autism are no different. The vaccine has never been shown to cause autism or side effects and if you look at the side-effects of not getting the vaccine . . . you’re dealing with cancer down the road, Chemo, radiation.”

Instead, Dr. Ferris says getting your child the HPV vaccine is “responsible and I think it’s good parenting.”

The CDC recommends that children 11 or 12 should get the series of shots and can be started at 9 years-old. While it is most effective early men can get the shots through age 21 and women through 26.

Marty continues his journey everyday on KDKA Radio and his new website

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