Wouldn't it be great if there were a cure for cancer? I am praying for that to happen in our lifetimes.
The only thing better than a cure for cancer would be to never get it. A vaccine would do just that. And fortunately, one already exists for cervical cancer and other types of cancer related to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
By getting your kids vaccinated against HPV, you can protect them from several strands of HPV that are known to cause cancer in both women and men.
With the HPV vaccine, I could've avoided cancer
Oh, how I wish they would have had the HPV vaccine when I was young. I would have gotten it, and it might have saved me from so much suffering.
You see, in May 2013, I was diagnosed with vulvar cancer, which may have been caused by HPV. The vaccine may have been able to prevent it. I have spent many hours thinking of how wonderful it would have been to have the vaccine as a child. While many people think of the HPV vaccine preventing cervical cancer, it also can prevent anal cancer, penile cancer, vulvar cancer, oral cancer, and head and neck cancers.
MD Anderson recommends that both boys and girls get the HPV vaccine around ages 11 to 12 since that's when their immune systems respond best. The U.S. has almost eradicated many childhood illnesses like smallpox, polio, diphtheria and chicken pox. If you could save your child from certain types of cancer, why wouldn't you do that?
Cancer has been harder than I imagined
Had I gotten the vaccine, I wouldn't have had to hear the words, "You have cancer." I wouldn't have had to tell my friends and family that I had cancer.
I wouldn't have had to undergo 30 rounds of radiation, three rounds of chemotherapy and the nausea, fatigue and other side effects that go with it. I wouldn't have had to deal with the terrible diarrhea that the chemo gave me.
I wouldn't have had to endure radiation burns. I had third degree burns in my groin area and up on both sides of my thighs. I couldn't sit down. I had to stand or lie down. The radiation burns in such a delicate area were the most painful part of my cancer treatment.
I have been cancer-free for one year now, and I am grateful for every day. But I deal with side effects that will hamper me the rest of my life. Cancer changed my life forever. It has affected my bladder and colon permanently. The radiation has caused osteoporosis in my left hip. I also deal with fatigue that never goes away. It's been hard. Much harder than I ever imagined cancer to be.
If I could have been vaccinated and avoided cancer, I would have thanked my parents for that many times.