"This lifesaving preventative measure will be effective in reducing deaths from HPV-related cancers especially cervical cancer and other diseases", said consultant paediatrician, Dr Joycelyn Walter-Thomas.
"We have the opportunity to eliminate multiple HPV-related cancers beginning with cervical cancer". "But in the case of HPV-related cancers, the need for these intensive therapies could be avoided because these cancers can be prevented in the first place with HPV vaccination".
The HPV vaccine, Gardasil 4, is now on island and is created to provide immunity against low risk type HPV 6 and HPV 11 - which cause 90 percent of genital warts - and high-risk type HPV 16 and HPV 18 which cause 70 percent of HPV-related cancer in women and 90 percent of HPV-related cancer in men.
"We need health care providers to stand with us and recommend the HPV vaccine. Unfortunately, current vaccination rates are unacceptably low", said Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center. "At a time when overall cancer rates are escalating, we have a tool in place to prevent infection with the cancer-causing strains of HPV, which cause all cervical cancers and are a major-and increasing-cause of head and neck cancer". It is disappointing that more individuals are not taking advantage of this vaccine. "We fully support immunization for HPV and hope to encourage more parents to have their children vaccinated, which will significantly lower their risk of developing these largely preventable cancers". Research shows there are a number of barriers to overcome to improve vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians, and parents' not being properly informed that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer in men and women.
"It is important for Markey to be involved in HPV vaccination initiatives at both the state and local level given the burden of HPV-related cancers in our state", said Robin Vanderpool, director of community outreach and engagement at the UK Markey Cancer Center and associate professor in the UK College of Public Health.
Rates of cervical cancer could be decreased through widespread HPV vaccination. "Through funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, we have developed a project that focuses specifically on promoting the uptake of the HPV vaccine among minority, medically underserved young teens and adolescents using multi-level, system-based interventions in a safety-net healthcare system". Huh was a lead author with a multinational study of a new nine-valent HPV vaccine that has even further potential to dramatically reduce rates of cervical cancer and perhaps eliminate cervical cancer screening altogether.
Today and tomorrow - public health experts from across the country are now meeting in Salt Lake City to discuss the way forward - with the goal of eliminating cancers caused by HPV.
The cancer centers issued a call to action, in accordance with the Healthy People 2020 goals, to reach vaccination of more than 80 percent of males and females aged 13 to 15 years and to screen 93 percent of age-eligible females for cervical cancer by 2020.
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