January 11, 2017

Nation’s Cancer Centers Jointly Endorse Updated HPV Vaccine Recommendations

By msequeira

The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center is among the 69 National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers to endorse the updated joint statement supporting HPV vaccine use in the United States. The Joint statement endorses the United States Centers for Disease Control most recent guidelines. The guidelines recommend that children aged 11 to 12 should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series.

Read the 2017 HPV Consensus Statement.

According to the CDC, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Some HPV types cause warts or papillomas, which are non-cancerous tumors, and others cause cancers. HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the world, and is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. THe CDC estimates that HPV will infect 75-80 percent of people at some point in their lives. Nearly 80 million people are currently infected in the United States, and 14 million new infections occur every year. HPV is responsible for almost all cervical cancers, more than 90% of anal cancer, roughly 2/3 of oropharyngeal cancers and the majority of vulvar, vaginal and penile cancers.

The HPV vaccine is protective, not curative, meaning that maximum effectiveness is achieved when administered before any exposure to HPV. But uptake of the HPV vaccine in the United States remains low. Research shows there are a number of barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents not understanding that the HPV vaccine protects against several types of cancer. The NCI-designated cancer centers are holding a series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices, and identify collective action toward improving vaccination rates.

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