UW Carbone Cancer Center Endorses Updated HPV Vaccine Recommendations

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Madison, Wisconsin - Recognizing a critical need to prevent cancer by vaccinating more children against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the UW Carbone Cancer Center has joined all 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to support new federal guidelines.


All children should complete the vaccine series between ages 9 and 13, according to revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new guidelines say children younger than 15 should get two doses of the vaccine six months apart. Although less effective, the vaccine is approved for men and women up to age 26. Those above age 15 should complete a three-dose series.


"We're seeing more and more cancers linked to HPV," said Carbone Cancer Center Director Dr. Howard Bailey. "It's critical to improve vaccination rates among children. As oncologists, we ask pediatricians to recommend HPV vaccination to prevent their patients from becoming our patients."


The CDC said about 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Although the vaccine can prevent the majority of cervical, throat, anal and genital cancers, vaccination rates remain low.  Just 42 percent of girls and 28 percent of boys complete the recommended vaccine series.


"Research shows there are a number of barriers to improved vaccination rates including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians, and parents who don't understand that the vaccine protects against several types of cancer," said Bailey.


As a way to overcome barriers, NCI-designated cancer centers have organized a series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices and identify collective action toward improving vaccination rates.

The joint recommendation is the result of discussions from the most recent summit held this past summer.


Nearly 150 experts from across the country gathered to present research updates and plan future collaborative actions across NCI-designated cancer centers.


All 69 NCI-designated cancer centers originally issued a joint statement in January, 2016 strongly recommending the HPV vaccination series for children.


Bailey is a national expert in cancer prevention and is the past chairman and current chairman of the Cancer Prevention Committee and Cancer Prevention Subcommittee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world's largest cancer professional society. He recently authored for ASCO a world-wide statement urging higher vaccination rates that could prevent up to 600,000 cases of cancer a year.


"Oncologists have a professional obligation to help reduce the burden of cancer on patients, their families and our communities," Bailey said. "We need to use our interactions with our patients, primary care colleagues and health care systems to raise awareness of HPV-related cancers and the critical role of vaccination in preventing them."

Date Published: 01/12/2017

News tag(s):  cancer

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