CHICAGO, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University has joined 68 other top cancer centers in issuing a statement urging for increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer. These institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon the nations' physicians, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent many types of cancer.
"The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers lead the nation's efforts to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer," says Lurie Cancer Center Director, Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD. "Working together on this initiative expands our opportunities to have an impact on vaccination rates and take an active role in preventing HPV-related cancers."
NCI-designated cancer centers joined in this effort in the spirit of President Barack Obama's State of the Union call for a national "moonshot" to cure cancer, a collaborative effort led by Vice President Joe Biden.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the U.S. Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers.
Vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with under 40 percent of girls and just over 21 percent of boys receiving the recommended three doses. 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 understanding that this vaccine protects against several types of cancer.
To discuss strategies for overcoming these barriers, experts from the NCI, CDC, American Cancer Society and more than half of the NCI-designated cancer centers met in a summit at MD Anderson Cancer Center last November. During this summit, cancer centers shared findings from 18 NCI-funded environmental scans, or detailed regional assessments, which sought to identify barriers to increasing immunization rates in pediatric settings across the country.
The published call to action was a major recommendation resulting from discussions at that summit, with the goal of sending a powerful message to parents, adolescents and health care providers about the importance of HPV vaccination for cancer prevention.
About the Lurie Cancer Center
The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Illinois, is committed to being a national leader in the battle to overcome cancer.
To this end, the Lurie Cancer Center is dedicated to scientific discovery, advancing medical knowledge, providing compassionate, state-of-the-art cancer care, training the next generation of clinicians and scientists, and outreach to the communities we serve. Outstanding basic, translational, and clinical research complements a full range of prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care programs for all types of cancer.
Learn more about the Lurie Cancer Center's patient care, services and programs, research and education, clinical trials, and faculty at cancer.northwestern.edu.
SOURCE Northwestern Medicine