UW Carbone Joins Nation's Other Top Cancer Centers to End HPV-Caused Cancers
Madison, Wisconsin – Nearly 80 million Americans – one out of every four people – are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). And of those millions, more than 31,000 will be diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer this year. Despite those staggering figures and the availability of a vaccine to prevent the infections that cause these cancers, the United States lags in vaccinating its young people.
The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center has partnered with 69 other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to urge increased HPV vaccination and screening to eliminate HPV-related cancers, starting with cervical cancer.
These institutions call upon the nations' physicians, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to eliminate several different types of cancer in men and women. HPV is responsible for almost all cervical cancers, more than 90 percent of anal cancer, roughly two-thirds of cancer of the throat; and most cancers of the vulva, vagina and penis.
"We can eliminate HPV-related cancers, but to accomplish this goal, our country needs to do a much better job vaccinating young people against HPV," said Dr. Howard Bailey, director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Bailey, an international expert in cancer prevention, was also the lead author of the guidelines written by the world's largest society of cancer professionals, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), on HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer.
Vaccination rates remain significantly lower than other recommended adolescent vaccines in the United States, according to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, fewer than 50 percent of girls and 38 percent of boys completed the recommended vaccine series. By contrast, vaccination rates are at 86 percent in the United Kingdom and 84 percent in Australia. In Finland, where vaccination rates are high, a recent study showed cervical-cancer rates of zero in vaccinated women.
Research shows barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates include a lack of strong recommendations from physicians, and parents not understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer in men and women.
"We are asking health care providers to join us by strongly recommending the HPV vaccine, and parents to ask their health care providers about vaccination," Bailey adds.
HPV experts from the nation's top cancer centers, along with partners from the NCI, CDC, and the American Cancer Society, are meeting today in Salt Lake City to discuss a path forward to eliminating cancers caused by HPV, including ways to reduce barriers to vaccination, as well as share education, training and intervention strategies to improve vaccination rates.
Date Published: 06/07/2018