HPV Vaccination Could Have Probably Prevented the Majority of Cervical and Oropharyngeal Cancers in US Over the Past Decade

HPV VaccinationIt appears that HPV-related cancers on the rise in the United States. While that, alone is of some concern, this data exacerbates the fight against cancer as many strains of HPV—the Human Papillomavirus—have been linked with a variety of cancers. This includes, of course, cervical cancer but also head and neck cancers as well.

In a new report, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the number of HPV-related cancers has also increased by almost 40,000 people between 2008 and 2012.   This is up nearly 7,000 from the 33,000 reported HPV cancers from the period between 2004 and 2008.

Now, among those cases, roughly 11,700 were cervical cancer cases and more than 12,500 were oropharyngeal cancer cases (among men). And basically, the CDC claims that roughly 28,500 of the 39,000 (or so) cases could have been prevented by the HPV vaccine. Indeed, experts say that the vast majority of these cancers could have been prevented by the HPV vaccine, as it has been recommended for boys and girls for this exact purpose.

However, data shows that less than 40 percent of teen girls (between the ages of 13 and 17) receive their first dose and only about 22 percent receive all three of the recommended vaccine doses (in order to be as effective as projected). And, unfortunately, among boys, the percentage drops to only about 20 percent.

If nothing is done to improve these rates, though, HPV could continue to contribute to the 11,700 cases of cervical cancer (among women) and the 12,600 oral cancers (among men) which are reported every year. And these numbers will probably continue to climb without further developments in preventing or curing cancer.

The Federal agency insists: “CDC scientists stress that 28,500 cases of HPV-caused cancer could be prevented by HPV vaccine,” adding too,”Cervical cancer screening can find pre-cancers before they develop into cancer.”

Finally Ohio State University Cancer Control Research Program co-director Electra Paskett, comments that the current data on vaccination rates in America is “extremely sad.”

She advises, then, “In order to increase HPV vaccination rates, we must change the perception of the HPV vaccine from something that prevents a sexually transmitted disease to a vaccine that prevents cancer,” noting, “This is better than a cancer cure — it’s cancer prevention.”

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