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.

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 HPV.

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.

Medical:

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 year.

Moral:

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 with whom.

Mommy:

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.

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7 thoughts on “Michael Douglas: It Goes Deeper Than You Think

  1. I’m with the pro-vaccine crowd. Vaccines have proven overwhelmingly to save lives with little side effect. There is some risk. But the much greater risk is not getting vaccines. If you would ever consider letting your child drive a car you are putting them at far greater risk. If you would ever consider letting your child cross a street you are putting them at far greater risk. Almost anything in life is riskier than a vaccine.

  2. Mário Luis Alves do Traco on said:

    Como um cara instruído como ele,consegue transar com alguém sem se proteger, o que ele esperava, que nada aconteceria? Por ser uma pessoa pública, belo exemplo que ele deu, ainda mais tornando público o seu problema.

  3. Buttons on said:

    Absolutely Not. Do not be decieved. Pharmaceutical companies are profit driven and they are not the least bit concerned with the health of Americans, they are concerned with the amount of wealth they can produce by manufacturing diseases and creating so called treatment or cures in a pill or a vaccine. Center for Disease Control, American Medical Association, etc. and Pharmaceutical companies are all in cahoots to create hysteria among the population by linking one thing to another and creating false statistics to put fear in the minds of the public to set the stage for the push of their drugs. We should learn from the Tuskeegee experiment and the Eugenics program in North Carolina that sterilized black women without their consent, and countless of other experiments, that the medical industry is not to be trusted. My answer would be to research and get as much information as possible and proceed with extreme caution. Personally, there is no way in hell that I would even think to give my 9 year old black daughter a so called vaccine that’s supposed to prevent cancer. Yeah right.

  4. As the immunization nurse supervisor in a health department, & as someone who received the HPV vaccine when it first came out, i can assure you that the vaccine should most definitely be given to adolescents. And it’s no different than giving them a Meningitis vaccine or a Tdap vaccine, both of which are recommended for this age group. It’s not about sex, it’s not about abstinence, it’s not about autism, or “perceived” adverse effects, it’s about PROTECTION. Plain and simple.

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