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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 14th, 2018


    Earlier this month, the FDA extended the age when women and men can receive the human papillomavirus (HPV)vaccine. Women and men can now receive the vaccine up to age 45 years old.  I think this is big news.  According to the CDC, every year 14 million Americans become infected with HPV. HPV is associated with cervical, vaginal and vulva cancer in women. It is associated with penile cancer in men. For both men and women, it is associated with throat and anal cancer. To have a vaccine that has the potential to prevent cancer is a big deal. Ideally the best time to get the vaccine is before you are exposed to the virus but just because you have tested positive for HPV does not mean you cannot get the vaccine.

    Since the announcement just came out, it will take time for the insurance companies to catch up in terms of coverage. Confirm that your insurance will cover the cost before getting the vaccine so that there are no surprises. You will need three doses of the vaccine over  6 months.


    American Cancer Society is now recommending that people of average risk should be screened for colorectal cancer at age 45 years old.  You do not have to wait until you are 50 years old. New cases of colorectal cancer are occurring at an increasing rate among younger adults. Please remember that a screening test is used to find a disease before there are any symptoms. If you notice blood in your stool, regardless of your age, you should see your health care provider.  Screening tests for colorectal cancer include:

    Stool-based test:

    • Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
    • Highly sensitive guaiac-bsed fecal occult blood test (gFOT) every year
    • Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years

    Visual exams:

    • Colonoscopy every 10 years
    • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years

    Please note if you are high risk for colorectal cancer because of a family history for example, you will need screening earlier than age 45. It is best to talk with your health care provider to determine if you are average risk or high risk.



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