On January 27, all 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Centers issued a joint statement urging health care providers and parents to take the necessary steps to have girls and boys complete the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination at age 11 or 12.
“Together we recognize these low rates of HPV vaccination as a serious public health threat. HPV vaccination represents a rare opportunity to prevent many cases of cancer that is tragically underused. As national leaders in cancer research and clinical care, we are compelled to jointly issue this call to action,” reads the statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 79 million people in the U.S. — about one in four — are currently infected with HPV. Shockingly, about 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.
While HPV can cause cervical cancer, the virus may also cause vaginal and vulva cancer in women; penile cancer in men; anal cancer; throat (oropharynx) cancer; and genital warts in both men and women.
The HPV recommendations state that a child may receive their first vaccine dose at age 9 and should receive all shots (three) before age 13. The completed vaccine is much more effective at an earlier age. However, women who receive it until age 26 and men up to age 21 will still highly benefit.
HPV vaccination will significantly reduce HPV related diseases such as the development of genital warts and anogenital cancers,” explains Melinda Huang, MD, FACOG, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, AdvantageCare Physicians. “Currently, most girls in the recommended age group have not received all three vaccines. It is imperative that our patients and parents be educated about the vaccine and its ability to prevent disease.”
To learn more about HPV prevention, visit cdc.gov/hpv/parents.