Newswise — Today, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) joined the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Biden Cancer Initiative, and Moffitt Cancer Center to host a congressional briefing titled “Let’s End HPV-related Cancers” in Washington, DC.
In conjunction with today’s briefing, leading health organizations, patient advocates, and AACI cancer centers issued a call to action urging policymakers and other stakeholders to help eliminate cervical cancer and other cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
These cancers represent a significant disease burden in the United States and globally. Over 33,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed annually among men and women in the U.S. alone. These include oropharyngeal, cervical, anal, vulvar, penile and vaginal cancers. Globally, 630,000 cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed each year.
For the first time in history, we have the opportunity to eliminate up to six cancers affecting both men and women. This can be accomplished through high vaccine coverage and widespread participation in cervical cancer screening and treatment programs, as described in the objectives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 program:
- Complete vaccination of more than 80 percent of females and males ages 13 to 15 by 2020
- Screen 93 percent of eligible females for cervical cancer by 2020
- Provide prompt follow-up and treatment of females who screen positive for high-grade cervical precancerous lesions
Research has shown that, despite the connection between HPV and cancer, barriers stand in the way of optimal vaccination rates, including a lack of strong recommendations from physicians and misinformation among parents surrounding the safety of the vaccine and when it is most effective in preventing HPV. Only 53.1 percent of girls and 44.3 percent of boys, ages 13-17 years, in the U.S. completed the vaccine series in 2017.
“With HPV-related cancers on the rise, AACI cancer centers have made prevention, screening, and treatment for HPV a priority,” said AACI Executive Director Jennifer W. Pegher. “By eliminating HPV-related cancers, we have the opportunity to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer in the U.S. and globally.”
“Let’s End HPV-related Cancers” was hosted in partnership with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Prevent Cancer Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
Representing 98 of North America's premier academic and freestanding cancer centers, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer by enhancing the impact of leading cancer centers.