During 2012–2016, an average of approximately 34,800 human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers were reported each year, according to a new study published by Senkomago et al in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Among the cancers probably caused by HPV, 92% are attributable to the HPV types that are included in the HPV vaccine and could be prevented if HPV vaccine recommendations were followed, according to the report.
“A future without HPV[-related] cancers is within reach, but urgent action is needed to improve vaccine coverage rates,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health.
CDC researchers analyzed 2012–2016 data from the National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program to determine the incidence of HPV-associated cancers and to estimate the annual number of cancers attributable to the HPV types in the currently available HPV vaccine. This report marks the first time these data are available at the state level.
During 2012–2016, an estimated average of 34,800 HPV-attributable cancers were diagnosed each year. The most common cancers were cervical (n = 9,700) and oropharyngeal cancer (n = 12,600).
The number of cancers attributable to HPV types targeted by the vaccine ranged by state from 40 in Wyoming to 3,270 in California. Oropharyngeal cancer was the most common cancer attributable to the vaccine types in all states, except in Texas, where cervical cancer was most common. In Alaska, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, and New York, the estimates of oropharyngeal and cervical cancers attributable to the types in the currently available HPV vaccine were the same.
“A future without HPV[-related] cancers is within reach, but urgent action is needed to improve vaccine coverage rates."— Admiral Brett P. Giroir, MD
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Pediatric Vaccination Rates
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all preteens get the HPV vaccine when they are 11 or 12 years old to protect them before they are ever exposed to the virus. However, in another report published by Walker et al in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report show little progress toward increasing HPV vaccination rates among teens aged 13 to 17 years. These data, collected as part of the 2018 National Immunization Survey Teen, show a 4–percentage point increase in HPV vaccination rates among teen boys and less than a 1–percentage point increase among teen girls. Overall, just 51% of all teens had received all recommended doses of the HPV vaccine—a 2–percentage point increase from 2017.
HPV vaccination rates were higher in teens whose parents reported receiving a recommendation from their child’s health-care professional.
“The HPV vaccine continues to be the best way to protect our young boys and girls from developing certain cancers, including cervical cancer, “said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “These new data show one in four parents who received a medical recommendation for the HPV vaccine chose not to have their child vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe, and we encourage parents to get their preteens vaccinated and take the next step to prevent their children from developing HPV-related cancer later in life.”