Boston, Massachusetts – A research revealed that doctors are the biggest obstacle for getting a Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) vaccine and are critical to addressing low coverage. The study was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, by a group of physicians at Harvard Medical School.

The report included a survey to 776 pediatricians and family physicians completed in 2014. They assessed the quality of their HPV vaccine and they fully recommended to strength its endorsement. This was recommended in three possible periods: timeliness (ages 11-12), consistency (routinely vs. using a risk-based approach) and urgency (recommending-same day vaccination).

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. However, persistent infection with some HPV types can cause cancer and other benign diseases. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“We were surprised that physicians so often reported recommending HPV vaccination inconsistently, behind schedule, or without urgency,” said Dr. Melissa Gilkey, PhD, study coauthor and assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard, to a press release from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Survey results

From the survey, 27 percent of physicians didn’t endorse HPV vaccine or delivery timely recommendation, 26 percent of doctors were not timely with girls and 39 percent were not timely with boys. About 59 percent of physicians used a risk-based approach to recommend HPV vaccine. Only 51% usually recommended same-day vaccination.

“Of the five communication practices we assessed, about half of physicians reported two or more practices that likely discourage timely HPV vaccination. We are currently missing many opportunities to protect today’s young people from future HPV-related cancers,” said Dr. Gilkey in an interview.

They also emphasized how important was vaccinating young boys to prevent the virus transmission. Additionally, experts explained that the vaccine is definitely most effective when younger because the patient has a better immune response to vaccines.

“Vaccinating boys with the HPV vaccine will help prevent transmission of the virus and help reduce the incidence and mortality of all HPV-related cancers,” declared some researchers in an interview.

Preventive, not sexual

Furthermore, part of the problem remained in how doctors approached their discussion with parents. Now, they want to change this by introducing feasible sources of information to control this problem. They want to change the concept of the whole vacuuming process into a preventive solution.

“We need to make the vaccine not about sex but about routine cancer prevention,” said Jennifer Edman, an assistant professor of women’s primary care at Oregon Health & Science University.

Source: Cidrap