So, this week, Michael Douglas had tongues wagging over his alleged statement that his throat cancer was caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) transmitted during oral sex.
Thanks, Michael Douglas. No really, I’m not being sarcastic.
Because the one good thing from this story was that it brought to the
forefront the importance of getting checked for the HP virus which is
linked to cervical cancer in women, genital warts in males and females,
as well as uncommon cancers such as penile, anal, head, throat and neck.
And while every sexually active man and woman should do all that it
takes to avoid this common virus that affects more than 20 million
people, parents like me with pre-teens have a very daunting decision to
make—should or shouldn’t we vaccinate our sons and daughters against
At first it seems like a no-brainer. If there are currently 30 types
of HPV and no cure insight, it only stands to reason that the number
could multiply over the years. Why not be proactive and get our boys
and girls a shot that protects against the development of cervical
cancer and genital warts? The drug is approved for boys and girls from 9
to 26 years old, but doctors advise that children be vaccinated before
they become sexually active.
But there are medical, moral and mommy questions to consider.
The product Gardasil manufactured by the Merk drug company is
relatively new and there are possible risks that have not yet come to
light. There’s already controversy over the most common childhood
vaccinations. Celebrities Holly Robinson-Peete and Jennie McCarthy have
both been very vocal about what they believe to be a link between
measles vaccinations and their sons’ autism.
In 2010, there were more than 18,000 complaints reported that include
mostly fainting and pain from the shot. But there have been reports of
blood clotting too. However, according to the CDC, the risk of permanent
side effects from a vaccination is about one in a million, or four a
Is getting your pre-teen a vaccination to fight against sexually
transmitted disease giving him or her the green light to have sex? This
is a real concern for people who are teaching their children abstinence.
But realistically speaking, none of us can be certain that our kids
will wait until they’re married to have sex and who’s to say their mate
will? So, by getting them vaccinated, at least we’re looking out for
their long-term future…long after we have any say over what they do and
Getting our children vaccinated for HPV is going to force us to have
talk to our kids about sex whether we’re ready or not, especially if we
wait until they’re older, which is what some doctors suggest. A friend
of mine with a teen daughter was told by her doctor that it would be
fine to wait until she’s sexually active to get the shot. No parent is
looking forward to that day. Right now I can’t even imagine it, but as
the mother of boys, I’ve got a decision to make. A new study shows that
ear, nose and throat doctors are seeing more cases of throat cancer in
younger men caused not by drinking and smoking, but by HPV.
So, along with the conversation about refraining from sex comes the
talk about oral sex too. And I thought my 10 year old’s upcoming school
project on the costal regions of Texas was challenging!
I still haven’t made a firm decision and would love to hear your comments.