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Nation’s cancer centers endorse HPV vaccination

NIH HPV virus
3D model of the HPV virus. Credit the NIH 3D Print Exchange

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory joins NCI-designated cancer centers in endorsing the goal of eliminating HPV-related cancers

Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., President and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and David Tuveson, M.D., Ph.D., Director of CSHL’s NCI-designated Cancer Center, today joined with the leaders of other institutions nationwide in endorsing the following statement regarding revised recommendations concerning the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine:

Cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) are a significant public health problem. The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers fully endorse the goal of eliminating cancers caused by HPV through genderneutral HPV vaccination and evidence-based cancer screening. These practices offer a rare opportunity to prevent 12,000 cervical cancers and nearly 40,000 other HPV-related cancers (oropharyngeal, anal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal cancers) among men and women annually in the United States.

NCI logoAn effective and safe vaccine is available that prevents the large majority of cancer-causing HPV infections. In addition, healthcare providers can use proven methods to screen for and treat cervical pre-cancers.

Unfortunately, HPV vaccination completion rates across the U.S. remain low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 49.5 percent of girls and only 37.5 percent of boys, ages 13-17 years, in the U.S. completed the vaccine series in 2016. These rates are significantly lower than those for other recommended adolescent vaccinations and fall well below the nation’s goal of 80 percent coverage by the end of this decade (U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthy People 2020 objective).

Increased HPV vaccination rates combined with appropriate cervical cancer screening measures could soon eliminate cervical cancer, with other HPV-related cancers in males and females to follow. Therefore, as national leaders in cancer research and cancer care, we issue the following Call to Action in alignment with the nation’s Healthy People 2020 goals:

  • Vaccination of more than 80 percent of males and females ages 13-15 by 2020;
  • Screen 93 percent of age-eligible females for cervical cancer by 2020; and
  • Provide prompt follow up and proper treatment of females who screen positive for high grade cervical pre-cancerous lesions.

In addition, we strongly encourage:

  • Young men and women up to age 26, who were not previously vaccinated, to complete the recommended HPV vaccine series;
  • Health care providers to make clear and strong recommendations for HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening; and
  • The health care community to educate parents, guardians, community members, and colleagues about the goal of eliminating cancers caused by HPV in the US.

High HPV vaccination rates combined with cervical cancer screening and treatment will result in the elimination of cervical cancer in the near future and elimination of other HPV-related cancers thereafter.

The HPV vaccine PREVENTS CANCER. Make sure your loved ones are vaccinated and protected. More information is available from the CDC.

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About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,000 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit