By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - March 04, 2020
Florida is taking a bold step to prevent and eliminate cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The state’s Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council unveiled its five-year cancer plan, which includes a goal to eliminate cervical cancer — a cancer that is predominantly caused by HPV. Each year in Florida, more than 1,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 300 women die from the disease.
“Florida is the first state in the nation to outline such a goal in their cancer control plan,” said Dr. Anna Giuliano, founding director of the Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center. “It is a bold statement, but it is achievable. We already have the tools to make this happen.”
The state plan outlines a three-prong approach to tackle the public health concern.
- Increase the percentage of adolescents, ages 13 to 17, who are up-to-date on HPV vaccination to 80%. Currently that figure is 46.5%.
- Increase the percentage of women, ages 21 to 65, who have had a Pap test and/or HPV test in the past three years from 79.4% to 93% or higher.
- Identify and develop a surveillance method that measures the percentage of Florida women who receive appropriate follow-up after an abnormal cervical cancer screening test result.
Moffitt has partnered with the American Cancer Society to bring together health care professionals from across the state to discuss how to achieve this goal. Coming together on March 4 — International HPV Awareness Day — the experts will discuss challenges and develop strategies to target the three objectives outlined in the state’s cancer plan.
“It’s important to note, cervical cancer is just the beginning. Approximately 90% of cancers caused by HPV can be prevented by vaccination. Increasing Florida’s vaccination rates will help reduce the number of people diagnosed with other HPV-related cancers,” said Giuliano.
To learn more about HPV vaccination, visit www.Moffitt.org/HPV.