DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing a critical need to improve national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has joined with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers to support recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new guidelines from the CDC recommend that children age 11 to 12 should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series.
"I whole-heartedly endorse the use of the HPV vaccination and the revised recommendations by the CDC," said Shelly Seward, M.D., member of the Gynecologic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos. "Many parents report hesitancy to vaccinate at the recommended age as the children are too young to be sexually active, so parents feel they can wait.
"The reason the vaccine works best at the recommended age range is that at this age, a person's immune system has the most robust response to the vaccination, not to mention that the vaccine works better if given before exposure to HPV."
HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the world, and is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. HPV will infect 75-80 percent of people at some point in their lives, according to the CDC. Nearly 80 million people are currently infected in the United States, and 14 million new infections occur every year. HPV infection can lead to several types of devastating cancers later in life, including cervical, oropharyngeal, anal and genital cancers.
"Many parents cite a lack of strong support by their treating pediatrician or health care provider as to why they do not vaccinate their children," Dr. Seward said. "Therefore, it is critical that Karmanos, as an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, promote this vaccination to current and future providers who treat patients in the vaccination age range."
Incidence rates of HPV-associated cancers have continued to rise, with approximately 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers now diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the CDC.
Although HPV vaccines can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with just 41.9 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys completing the recommend vaccine series.
"Most people wonder why we need to vaccinate boys considering they can't get cervical cancer," Dr. Seward said. "HPV-related mouth and throat cancers are on the rise and most rapidly in men. This underscores the need to vaccinate both boys and girls.
"There is also a concept called 'herd immunity.' To eradicate a viral disease, you can't leave any carriers of the virus without vaccination. We strongly encourage all parents to consult with their health care providers about having their children vaccinated against HPV."
Click here for a list of the NCI-designated cancer centers endorsing the updated HPV vaccination recommendations.
About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
Located in mid-town Detroit, Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a subsidiary of McLaren Health Care, is one of 47 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Karmanos is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 physicians and researchers on faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. Its long-term partnership with the WSU School of Medicine enhances the collaboration of critical research and academics related to cancer care. Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to www.karmanos.org.
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SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute