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Also, advice on the HPV vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration now approves for men and women ages 27 to 45.

I am a high school student in North Clackamas. I was a student organizer with March for Our Lives PDX. I congratulate Rep. Kurt Schrader on his re-election.

He'll be hearing a lot from me nowadays, as I hope that as he's been doing, he will continue to use the position he has been elected for to speak for his constituents.

A couple things — as I'm sure Schrader is aware, gun violence has become an epidemic in America. Just this month, there was a scare at Southridge High School in Beaverton after a threat was made by a student. In my school district, official lockdown policy is that before we run and hide and turn the lights off and shut the blinds, we have to grab something sharp to defend ourselves with. How terrible is it that America has gotten to this point?

As a student of America, as well as a constituent of Schrader's district, I urge that he continue to vote in favor of passing gun safety legislation, to protect not only the students of America, but everyone.

Second, as I'm sure you've heard, Jeff Sessions recently was fired from his position as attorney general by President Trump. This certainly would allow wiggle room to shove attorney Robert Mueller's investigation under the rug. Both the House and the Senate must act now to protect Mueller so that he can find the truth. I hope Schrader will support future initiatives to make this happen.

Finn Jacobson

Milwaukie

HPV vaccine prevents oral, throat cancer

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced a major expansion of the HPV vaccine, approving immunizations for men and women ages 27 to 45. Previously, the FDA approved the vaccine only for people younger than 26, leaving generations of others without this protection.

As a dentist, I am thrilled to see a major advancement toward preventing oral and throat cancers for not only my patients, but for all Oregonians and citizens nationwide.

While most people likely know this vaccine protects people from contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts and cancers, many may be less aware of the direct link between HPV and tumors affecting parts of the throat, known as oropharyngeal cancers.

HPV is the primary cause of most throat cancers in the United States. Alarmingly, the number of cases of oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV infection in both men and women have been on the rise in recent years, according to the American Cancer Society. Thankfully, the HPV vaccine could prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers from developing, or 31,200 cases each year.

Dentists historically have played a key role in prevention related to other health concerns such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and eating disorders, among others, and so it's perhaps not surprising that a March 2018 study, available through the National Institutes of Health, suggests that dental providers "may become the next line of prevention for HPV-related cancers."

The American Dental Association is so committed to ensuring all patients have access to this potentially life-saving vaccine, they recently approved a policy urging dentists to encourage the administration of the HPV vaccine.

Dental providers already screen for oral cancer and often are the first to identify signs of oropharyngeal cancer in patients during routine dental exams. Because many Oregonians see their dentist more often than a primary care physician, it makes sense for dental providers to continue expanding their prevention efforts when it comes to oral cancer.

Together we can work to make many oropharyngeal cancers a distant memory.

Barry Taylor

Southwest Portland

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