In a statement released on Wednesday, the nation’s Cancer Institute-designated centers jointly called for an increase in vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The top cancer centers in the U.S. urged parents saying that by simple taking the three-shot regimens people have the opportunity to prevent a variety of potentially lethal diseases, including cancer.
Currently, just 40% of girls and 21% of boys in the U.S. have received the vaccine, according to a report last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The federal guidelines recommend taking the 3-dose regiment before turning 13 years old, before they become sexually active, to prevent cancer from developing when they become adults. However, if children between 13 and 17 years old have not taken the vaccine before this age, they should do it as soon as possible.
The CDC estimates that 79 million Americans are infected with the sexually transmitted virus. While the body’s immune system fights off the virus in most cases, certain high-risk strains are responsible for cancers of the cervix, anus, and various genital sites as well as a growing rate of oropharyngeal or throat cancers, all told affecting about 27,000 patients a year in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 initiative has set the goal of HPV vaccination for both boys and girls at 80%. To discuss strategies for overcoming these barriers, experts from the NCI, CDC, the American Cancer Society and more than half of the NCI-designated cancer centers met in a summit at MD Anderson Cancer Center last November. During this summit, cancer centers shared findings from 18 NCI-funded environmental scans, or detailed regional assessments, which sought to identify barriers to increasing immunization rates in pediatric settings across the country.
“The cancer centers have come together to make it clear that the evidence is there; that the vaccine is safe and effective. We want to bring greater attention to this intervention,” Elizabeth Platz, who leads the cancer prevention and control programs at the Sidney Kimmel center said.
Ernest Hawk, M.D., vice president and division head, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said this initiative all 69 of the nation’s National Cancer Institute-designated centers took is directly associated with the desire of the President, Vice President and all Americans to work constructively together to eradicate cancer.
Source: Fox News