Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., August 1, 2022 –The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for more than 90 percent of anal and cervical cancers, about 70 percent of vaginal and vulvar cancers, and 60 percent of penile cancers. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-related cancer in women and oropharyngeal cancer the most common in men. Most of these cancers can be prevented with the HPV vaccine.

James K. Aikins, Jr., MD, FACOG, FACS, is chief of the Gynecologic Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and manages the care of patients at this location and at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility. He is also an associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

“HPV will first cause pre-cancer cells and if left untreated can cause cervical cancer. People often think that because their children aren’t sexually active, they don’t feel a need to vaccinate,” notes Dr. Aikins. “Parents should know that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective, and is recommended for preteen boys and girls to protect them before they’re exposed to the virus. Education about diseases that can be prevented through vaccines and talking about HPV vaccination for cancer prevention is extremely important.”

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Dr. Aikins is available to comment on the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention.