In the U.S. alone, 70,000 teens and young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year, making up 8% of all cancer diagnoses. But, despite this young Americans affected have seen little to no improvement in survival rates over the last four decades. 

Recently at a meeting in Washington however, with the American Cancer Society and a number of cervical cancer patient advocacy groups, it was announced that in our lifetime cervical cancer will be the first cancer with a mortality rate of zero, writes Stat News

Right now, cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for women between the ages of 20 and 39. This year, nearly 13,000 women will be told they have it and more than 4,000 will die from it. 

In 90% of these cases, the disease is caused by the human papillomavirus, an infection that spreads through intimate contact. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the virus actually causes cancers and is the source of 70% of cancers in the throat, neck, and tongue, as well as being the leading cause of cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, and anus. 

Thanks to an effective vaccine against HPV, most of these cancers can be prevented. In addition, government agencies and insurance companies believe in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. 

The Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices, a group of medical and public health experts that develops vaccination guidelines for Americans, recommends that all 11- or 12-year-old girls and boys get a shot of the HPV vaccine with a follow-up shot six to 12 months later.

Back in 2015, Rhode Island added the HPV vaccine to the list of immunisations children need before they can attend school. And as of today, nearly 70% of children in that state are protected against this cancer virus. 

The importance of the vaccine seems to be spreading quickly, with Florida now seriously considering doing the same thing. It would ensure that parents have all the options laid out and, more importantly, have an opportunity to sit with a doctor to discuss the best care for their children.

If you want to make your mark, it’s as simple as asking your state legislature to include the HPV vaccine on the list of immunisations needed for school entry.