The Mayo Clinic says there needs to be more awareness about a vaccination that may help prevent cervical cancer, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
Mayo Clinic Children's Center researcher Dr. Robert Jacobson says not enough parents know about the vaccine that prevents the human papillomavirus, a common sexually-transmitted virus also known as HPV.
Currently there are HPV vaccines available for females ages 9 to 26, and males ages 9 to 21.
However, Jacobson tells MPR, since HPV isn't considered a pediatric disease, parents don't think the vaccine is necessary.
The pediatrician says the window in which the vaccination is given is key in its overall effectiveness.
Jacobsen tells MPR that children "9 to 12 are better responders to the vaccine than they are at 15 or 16," and teens "15 to 16 are better to respond to it than 18- to 21-year olds."
MPR reported in the spring that only one-third of girls have received the HPV vaccine despite recommendations from physicians.
In August, The Associated Press said that at least one in five boys were vaccinated in the first year the vaccination was recommended for boys, which a CDC official called "a good start."
The Centers for Disease Control says HPV causes 19,000 cases of cancer in U.S. women per year, and 8,000 cases in men.