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It has been decades since children heard the words, “Don’t go outside and play”, or “You cannot go outside and play with your friends. As a matter of fact, it has been so long that parents of young children today have probably never heard those words, nor did their parents – perhaps their grandparents did though.
Years ago, children were sequestered inside their homes, unable to go outside as they do today and interact with their friends. The reason – disease, but not just any disease: communicable deadly diseases such as polio, typhoid fever, measles, mumps and rubella. These diseases claimed thousands of lives each year.
It was not until mass immunization came into practice, requiring school-aged children to be vaccinated if they were to attend school that things changed. Today when parents visit their pediatricians, they are given a list of immunizations required by law. If their child does not have these immunizations when it comes time for school, they simply will not be admitted.
Cancer is a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of individuals during this interval and prior. However, until recently (about 30 years ago) several cancers, in particular cervical and also hepatitis have been linked to viruses.
Since its connection to cervical cancer in 1984, and the advent of HPV testing, the number of cases of cervical cancer in the United States has decreased dramatically. However, in other less developed countries cervical cancer still remains the number one cancer killer in women. Also since 1984, HPV has been found to cause numerous other types of cancer including vulvar, vaginal, anal, and penile – all genital in nature.
HPV is considered the number one sexually communicable disease with 80 percent of the population being infected with HPV at some time in their lives. What is alarming is that more recently, HPV has been shown to affect other organs not considered sexual in nature such as the head/neck, mouth/tonsil and even lungs. Who knows how many other cancers are indeed caused by this one virus?
In many states the HPV vaccine was made mandatory for school admission.