If HPV vaccines currently in development pan out—and all young women routinely get them—cervical cancer could be eliminated within 50 years, according to an Right now, women and girls in the U.S. can get Gardasil, a vaccine that protects against 4 strains of HPV, including two that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases. New vaccines being created, however, would protect against all of the cancer-causing strains.
The CDC currently recommends that girls get the vaccine at age 11 or 12; that's because it only works if you get vaccinated before being exposed to HPV, an extremely common sexually transmitted virus. (If you're as old as 26 and haven't been vaccinated, ask your doctor if you should be.)
The key to wiping out HPV, however, is for all young women to be vaccinated, and that's currently a bit of a controversial subject in some circles. Experts agree that it's safe and that administering it doesn't promote sexual promiscuity, but some parents disagree. You can read more about what parents are saying .
—Barbara Brody, Health Editor