-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Too few American girls
and boys are getting vaccinated against the cancer-causing human
papillomavirus (HPV), the President's Cancer Panel reported
HPV is linked to cervical cancer as well as penis, rectal and
oral cancers. One in four adults in the United States is infected
with at least one type of HPV. Increasing HPV vaccination rates
could prevent a large number of cancer cases and save many lives,
the panel said.
"Today, there are two safe, effective, approved vaccines that prevent infection by the two most prevalent cancer-causing types, yet vaccination rates are far too low," Barbara Rimer, chair of the President's Cancer Panel, said in a panel news release.
"We are confident that if HPV vaccination for girls and boys is made a public health priority, hundreds of thousands will be protected from these HPV-associated diseases and cancers over their lifetimes," she added.
Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
is recommending that girls aged 11 and 12 receive either the
Cervarix or Gardasil vaccines, and Gardasil is recommended for boys
of similar age.
In 2012, only a third of girls aged 13 to 17 got all three
recommended doses of HPV vaccine, CDC data shows. That's much lower
than the federal government's goal of having 80 percent of girls
aged 13 to 15 fully vaccinated against HPV by 2020, the report
The picture is even more disappointing for boys. Less than 7
percent of males aged 13 to 17 completed the recommended HPV
vaccination series in 2012. The vaccine was recommended for boys
Boosting HPV vaccination rates to 80 percent would prevent
53,000 future cervical cancer cases among girls who are currently
aged 12 or younger, according to the CDC.
The agency also estimates that increased vaccination would
prevent thousands of cases of other HPV-associated cancers in both
females and males, the report added.
A number of things need to be done to increase HPV vaccination
rates, the panel said. These include public education and other
efforts to increase teens' and parents' acceptance of the vaccines;
encouraging doctors and other health care providers to recommend
and give vaccinations; and making sure that the vaccines are
available where teens receive health care.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
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