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There were more than 1.7 million new cases of cancer and more than 600,000 cancer deaths in the United States last year.

Rajiv Naik


More than $147 billion was spent on cancer care and billions more spent on research in 2017. Health care costs are rising at an alarming rate, resulting in 18 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and 10-30 percent of household income.

What if I told you that we know how to prevent thousands of cases of cancer each year and can save thousands of lives, thousands more from pain and suffering, and billions of health care dollars? We have recommended this preventive measure for more than a decade, yet less than half of our children are completing it on time.

Human papillomavirus causes more than 30,000 new cervical, head and neck, and genital cancers annually in the United States. Between 70 and 80 percent of all Americans become infected with HPV; 10 percent of infected people develop chronic infection which often results in cancer.

HPV vaccine has been routinely recommended since 2006. The vaccine is extremely effective in preventing cancer-causing HPV infections. The vaccine works better at younger ages (starting as early as age 9) resulting in better protection than if given to late teens or adults. The vaccine must be given before infection occurs.

Many families have chosen not to use this highly effective cancer prevention tool. Why? Myths and hearsay about the vaccine from the Internet, friends and relatives, and sometimes even poorly informed health care providers.

The science is clear. This vaccine has been studied for years, before and after it was introduced, in tens of thousands of children. More than 200 million doses have been safely given worldwide. The vaccine is extraordinarily effective with nearly 100 percent protection. The risk of a serious or life-threatening reaction to any vaccine including HPV vaccine is rare, much less likely than getting struck by lightning. The benefits are overwhelming, and the risks are minimal.

Opting not to have your child immunized against HPV is making a potentially life-changing choice for him or her. Up to 80 percent will become infected with HPV, and many will end up with cancer. As parents and informed health-care consumers, we need to protect our children from HPV-related cancers and save society billions in health care dollars.

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Gundersen Health System pediatrician Dr. Rajiv Naik has received the human papilloma virus vaccine champion award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society and Association of American Cancer Institutes. The award this year honoring champions in 32 states recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their community.


(7) comments


I have visualized that conversation and since the only way to contract HPV is through sexual contact I have absolutely no problem not immunizing my child(ren).


meklos, you're a fool if you think your children won't be having sex. You're giving them a potential death sentence by not taking advantage of the vaccine.


That is really dumb. This assumes that your children will never become sexually active. It also assumes that they will only have sex with individuals who have never had sexual contact with any other person. I watched a friend of mine go through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy for cancer caused by HPV. Trust me. It is something you wouldn't wish on anyone especially your children. Get your head out of the sand!


Actually, I'm not assuming anything. I work to ensure that my children will value chastity and will value the same in a future partner. It's no different than setting them up with contraception and I wouldn't do that either. This sexual agenda is not for everyone and it IS possible to raise children today who appreciate that.


"The sexual agenda", just what is that? Apparently you have never bothered to study biology or human behavior. You are living in some bizarro world. Sexual behavior is a significant part of human and animal genetics. The idea that it is somehow shameful is not good for your children. Are you a priest or not? Last time I checked priests were supposed to be celibate, which is another weird sexual notion. We can see what that has led to as the church busies itself paying off all the children (and now nuns) sexually abused by "celibate" priests. Keep your bizarre sexual ideas to yourself, and if you have children I feel their pain.


I read some of your other posts. It sounds to me like you are a Catholic priest. If so how is it you have children? Your opinion is so stupid and ungrounded in reality you must be living in some sort of imaginary utopian world. Get with reality.


For decades people have hoped for a vaccine to prevent cancer. We finally have one for a particular form of cancer. Unfortunately this type of cancer has an association with sexual activity. so people rationalize not getting their children vaccinated, because somehow it will make the children promiscuous or will otherwise ( with no scientific evidence to back it up) cause disease. Those parents should visualize a discussion in the future where their adult child stricken with cancer asks them why they were never vaccinated against this disease.

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