Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Issues White Paper Addressing Barriers to HPV Vaccination in High-Risk Populations

Jun 08, 2010, 12:08 ET from Society of Gynecologic Oncologists

Further initiatives are recommended to promote uptake of prophylactic HPV vaccination that target high-risk women before existing disparities widen

CHICAGO, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) has published its third in a series of four papers on a variety of cervical cancer issues and topics featured at "The Future Strategies for Cervical Cancer Prevention: What Do We Need to Do Now to Prepare" Forum. The paper, entitled "Can the Barriers to HPV Vaccination in High-Risk Populations be Overcome?" appears in the June, 2010 issue of Gynecologic Oncology Journal. The paper identifies populations of women in the United States at high-risk for cervical cancer and evaluates the known reasons for existing outcome disparities. The paper also advocates potential strategies to reduce barriers to HPV vaccination and current strategies for cervical cancer prevention.

Dr. Levi Downs, the paper's lead author, states that "while epidemiological data is useful and necessary to identify populations at high risk for cervical cancer, an understanding of the knowledge and attitudes regarding HPV and cervical cancer prevention of those racial/ethnic groups are critical for the implementation of effective, targeted educational efforts. Inequities in cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment and HPV vaccination may arise from a number of barriers including access to healthcare, cultural beliefs, and limited awareness."  

"To address the issue of limited vaccine uptake, it may be beneficial to establish national/state guidelines, as well as culturally-relevant interventions at the individual and community levels," said Dr. Downs, an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. "That, coupled with an increased educational program regarding HPV related cervical disease, transmission and risk as well as vaccination as a preventative measure may help to diminish existing disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality."  

"The Future Strategies of Cervical Cancer Prevention: What Do We Need to Do Now to Prepare," Forum focused on cervical cancer in the HPV vaccine era and was attended by more than 50 thought-leaders and cervical cancer experts. Sessions explored issues and concerns of public policy, clinical and cost effective issues surrounding the future of cervical cancer prevention as the HPV vaccination is more widely implemented across the country. In addition to Dr. Downs' manuscript, a fourth subsequent white paper is being developed for publication and addresses public policies influencing HPV vaccination and screening.

"The impressive data garnered from this meeting and shared through this series of white papers will serve as an invaluable tool to our colleagues who, like us, share our vision of eradicating women's cancers," explains Daniel Clarke-Pearson, MD, SGO President. "As a premier source of education in gynecologic oncology, our Society is committed to providing the most current data and late-breaking research studies for the good of our subspecialty, our peers, and most importantly, our patients."


The SGO is a national medical specialty organization of physicians who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract.  Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge which will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies and cooperating with other organizations interested in women's health care, oncology and related fields.  The Society's membership, totaling more than 1,300, is comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related women's cancer healthcare specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers and pathologists.  SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care.  More information on the SGO can be found at

SOURCE Society of Gynecologic Oncologists