Milestones :: Perspectives
The Wistar Institute Partners with Nation’s Top Cancer Centers to Endorse Goal of Eliminating HPV-related Cancers in the United States
Joint statement empowers parents, young adults and physicians to act to increase vaccination rates and screenings in effort to eliminate HPV-related cancers, starting with cervical cancer.
PHILADELPHIA — (June 7, 2018) — 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 these staggering figures and the availability of a vaccine to prevent the infections that cause these cancers, HPV vaccination remains low in the United States.
The Wistar Institute has partnered with 69 other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to issue a statement urging for increased HPV vaccination and screening to eliminate HPV-related cancers, starting with cervical cancer. These centers collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon the nations’ physicians, parents and young adults to take advantage of the opportunity to eliminate several different types of cancer in men and women.
“There is a safe and effective vaccine available to provide protection against HPV infection, which could prevent more than 52,000 cases of cervical, oropharyngeal, anal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal cancers each year,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “Yet U.S. rates for HPV vaccination remain low. We can and must do better for our children and young adults and ensure they receive the HPV vaccine.”
HPV vaccination rates remain significantly lower than other recommended adolescent vaccines in the nation. According to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), less than 50 percent of girls and 38 percent of boys completed the recommended vaccine series. Research shows there are many barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents not understanding the vaccine protects against several types of cancer.
HPV experts from the nation’s top cancer centers, along with partners from the NCI, CDC, and the American Cancer Society, are meeting June 7-8 to discuss a path forward to eliminating cancers caused by HPV, including ways to reduce barriers to vaccination, as well as how to share education, training and intervention strategies to improve vaccination rates.
This is the third year that all 70 NCI-designated cancer centers have come together to issue a national call to action. All of the centers unanimously share the goal of sending a powerful message to parents, adolescents and health care providers about the importance of HPV vaccination for the elimination of HPV-related cancers.