American Cancer Society: Relay for Life Kicks Off!

Published 01/30 2014 07:54AM

Updated 01/30 2014 08:19AM

Millions of people all across the country have vowed to walk until there's a cure for cancer. And although the event isn't until June, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life kicked off last night. Teams are being formed and money is being raised to find a cure.

To get involved:

And brand new this morning, we're learning that Vermont has some of the highest numbers in the country when it comes to getting a vaccine that prevents cancer.

The human papillomavirus -- or HPV causes cervical cancer. 

79 million Americans are currently infected.

So in an effort to save some lives, the Department of Health is making a big push to get more teens vaccinated. Already about 66% of Vermont teens have gotten the shot. Experts say the anti-cancer vaccine prevents seven different types of cancer. Cervical, mouth and throat to name a few. 

HPV is transmitted by any type of intimate sexual contact, and because the most common symptom is no symptom at all, the vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys.

"The recommendation is to have the HPV vaccine with all of the other teen vaccines at 11 to 12. We know it protects for a long time and like many other things, we don't wait until we think the risk is there to protect - it's ok to protect early," Christine Finley said who is the immunization program manager for the Department of Health. She says because there are so many strains of HPV, get the vaccine even if you already have the virus. You can get the shot up until the age of 26.

HPV is actually the most common sexually transmitted infection.

"Even if you think your daughter is wonderful and she's going to make these great decisions, it can still happen and then wouldn't you feel terrible if you were the parent and didn't help make that decision for her at an early age. We're not opening the door to sex, we're closing the door to cancer and it's really all about cancer," Fletcher Allen Pediatrician Barbara Frankowski said.

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