Karmanos Cancer Institute joins nation’s leading cancer centers to endorse goal of eliminating HPV-related cancers

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer 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 institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and 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.

What is HPV?

The human papillomavirus or HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses and the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the world, transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. Nearly 80 million Americans – one out of every four people – are infected with HPV. Most HPV infections have no symptoms and can be naturally cleared. Yet, of those 80 million, more than 31,000 will be diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer this year alone. Despite those staggering figures and the availability of a vaccine to prevent the infections that cause these cancers, HPV vaccination remains low in the United States.

What can be done to Eliminate HPV Infections and Cancers?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all children, both male and female, complete the HPV vaccine series between ages 9-13. Children younger than 15 should receive two doses of the vaccine six months apart. Those above age 15 should complete a three-dose series. The vaccine is recommended for young men up to age 21 and young women up to age 26.

Although HPV vaccines can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, vaccination rates remain significantly lower than other recommended adolescent vaccines in the U.S., with just 49.5 percent of girls and 37.5 percent of boys completing the HPV vaccine series.

This is the third year that all NCI-designated cancer centers have come together to issue a national call to action. All 70 cancer 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.

Click here for a list of the NCI-designated cancer centers endorsing the updated HPV vaccination recommendations.