President’s Cancer Panel releases report on HPV vaccination

President’s Cancer Panel report

Today, the President’s Cancer Panel (PCP) announces the issue of its report, Accelerating HPV Vaccine Update: Urgency for Action to Prevent Cancer. It’s the first official statement for the current PCP team that includes Owen Witte, MD, Hill Harper, JD, and me. A number of other people and organizations – listed on the PCP website – were also contributors. They made the product better.

Findings: there are two extremely safe and effective HPV vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil). More than 56 million doses have been given, with proven safety. HPV vaccines protect adolescents against future HPV-associated cervical cancers, oropharyngeal cancers, several other cancers and genital warts.

Yet, these remarkable vaccines are greatly under-used. Only about one-third of age-eligible girls and 7 percent of boys have completed the three-dose regimen. The U.S. is behind several other countries in uptake.

As several recent CDC reports have shown, the slow uptake of HPV vaccines is not due primarily to inability to pay, media hype or parents’ fears. It is due to missed opportunities. Most of the girls (the longest-term data are on girls) who haven’t been vaccinated against HPV visited physicians’ offices and received other adolescent vaccines, but they did not receive HPV vaccines. That’s a real shame.

When we protect our adolescents against some future life-threatening diseases (meningitis) but not others (HPV-associated conditions and diseases),  we lose an important opportunity. We’ve failed to invest in the best health protection for our children. It’s not too late for many, since HPV vaccines can be given until age 26 for females and 21 for males. Still, earlier is better — ideally, at age 11 or 12. These vaccines are medical success stories. The promise of public health remains to be achieved, but it can be realized if we work together to make increasing HPV vaccine uptake a priority.

Happy Monday, Barbara

Learn more about HPV:

Tagged  HPV, HPV vaccine, PCP

Featured Posts

  1. Wawan

    I agree that it’s important to be able to recivee vaccinations at school, and I think every school has a duty to provide them.However, as I understand it, the HPV vaccine does not prevent cervical cancer, just reduces the risk of it developing.To judge from the number of times I’ve seen it referred to as the “cancer jab”, this needs to be made clearer.This is a new vaccine which the government is now trialing on 14 year old girls. It may have some very positive effects; it may have some very negative side effects.Surely the issue at stake here is not whether to force girls to have the vaccine or not, but rather to give those girls and their families the *choice*?Aren’t we all in favour of bodily autonomy here?

  2. Barbara Rimer

    Thanks for your comment. The basic science and biology of cervical cancer have been elucidated. HPV vaccines prevent the most prevalent HPV infections which are responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. That means most but not all HPV-related cervical cancers. The government is not now trialing the vaccines. Extensive research has been conducted around the world showing that HPV vaccines are safe and effective. That doesn’t mean there are no side effects of being vaccinated, but they are within the acceptable range of other vaccines and incredibly safe. Over 56 million doses have been given in the US alone. This is an FDA-approved vaccine. I definitely believe that families should have choices, but that the smart choice is for parents to do what is possible to protect children’s health for the short and longer term. Getting children vaccinated against HPV infections is smart longer term protection. See President’s Cancer Panel report Accelerating HPV Vaccine Uptake. Thanks for writing, Barbara

Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked*.

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>