Vaccinations to Prevent Cancer

Vaccinations to prevent cancer.

Getting vaccinated against certain viruses can ultimately prevent cancer! The human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B are viruses that can cause cancer.* By getting vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B, you can protect yourself from these viruses and stop cancer before it starts.

*Hepatitis C is another virus that can cause cancer. While there is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C, you can get tested for it and, if you test positive, treated for the virus.

A girl with brown skin and long, dark curly hair is preparing to receive a shot from a woman pharmacist.


Certain types of HPV can cause these cancers: cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and the tonsils).

HPV vaccination protects against the HPV types most likely to cause cancer and is most effective when given before a person is exposed to HPV. All young people ages 9-12 should get vaccinated against HPV. Vaccination is also recommended for teens and young adults up to age 26. People ages 27-45 who are not already vaccinated should talk to a health care provider to see if HPV vaccination is right for them. When given as recommended, the vaccine can prevent more than 90% of cancers from HPV infection.

Download the Guide to Children’s Vaccinations to learn more about vaccines for your kids.

SPOTLIGHT: Actor Ernie Hudson talks about the importance of getting your kids vaccinated against HPV to prevent cancer. 

A white male in his 60s gets a hepatitis B vaccine from a young female healthcare provider.


Hepatitis B is a leading cause of liver cancer. In fact, most liver cancers are related to chronic infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus.

All children and adults up to age 59, as well as adults ages 60 and over who are at high risk, should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. If you are not vaccinated, you can be tested for hepatitis B and treated if you test positive, but vaccination is the best way to protect against the virus and prevent liver cancer.

Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and the tonsils) associated with HPV is on the rise.

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