In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), all 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers, including the University of Arizona Cancer Center, have issued a statement calling for increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States, which amounts to a new case every 20 minutes. Even though many of these HPV-related cancers are preventable with a safe and effective vaccine, HPV vaccination rates across the United States remain low.
The cancer centers’ consensus statement arose from a summit held in Houston last November to discuss concerns about low HPV vaccination rates in the United States and ways to improve uptake. Experts from more than half of NCI-designated cancer centers, the NCI, CDC and American Cancer Society participated, including Dr. Usha Menon, associate dean for research and global advances at the UA College of Nursing and a UA Cancer Center member, along with Dr. Laura Szalacha, director of research methods and statistics.
Drs. Menon and Szalacha say that collaboration between all NCI-designated cancer centers is a critical step forward in increasing vaccination rates in the United States, adding that HPV vaccination is our best defense in stopping HPV infection in our youth and preventing HPV-related cancers in our communities. More information is available from the CDC.