Cancer experts endorse new HPV vaccination recommendations

HOUSTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center along with 68 cancer centers in the United States have come together to endorse new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for HPV vaccinations.

HPV, the human papillomavirus, is a sexually-transmitted disease, some strains of which can cause genital warts and can lead to cancer, according to the CDC.

The new CDC guidelines recommend boys and girls ages 11 to 12 receive two doses of the 9-valent HPV vaccine six months apart. Teens and young adults 15 and older should complete the three-dose series.

Rates of HPV vaccination in the United States are relatively low. According to the CDC, rates of HPV-associated cancers continue to rise with about 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers diagnosed each year in the United States.

Nationwide, 41.9 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys are completing the vaccination series, according to the CDC.

In an effort to increase vaccination prevalence, doctors from MD Anderson joined with 68 other National Cancer Institute, or NCI, cancer centers to endorse the revised CDC recommendations on HPV vaccines.

"This collaborative effort is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of these new recommendations and the importance of HPV vaccination, knowing that most people will be exposed to HPV at some point in their lives," Dr. Lois Ramondetta, professor of gynecologic oncology and reproductive medicine, said in a press release.

"We hope that requiring two shots instead of three will make it easier for children to be vaccinated, bringing rates closer to the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent."

MD Anderson is working to reduce the rates of HPV-related cancers through its HPV-related Cancers Moon Shot Program.

"I am extremely encouraged that all of these institutions, representing the leaders in our country's cancer care and research, are working collaboratively together toward this common goal," Dr. Ernest Hawk, vice president and division head, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, said in a press release.

The report is published on the CDC website.
Amy Wallace

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