TAMPA, Fla. – In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), Moffitt Cancer Center has joined 68 of the nation’s 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.
National Cancer Institute-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.
“The low vaccination rates are extremely disappointing,” said Dr. Thomas Sellers, executive vice president and center director. “We have documented years of research to discover the link between HPV and cancer, which have led to the development and testing of highly effective vaccines, so we ask ourselves, why such limited interest? We must do better.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with HPV and 14 million new infections occur each year. Several HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States. Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers.
“The choice to vaccinate children today has the potential to virtually eliminate some HPV-related cancers in the future,” said Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, senior member, Health Outcomes and Behavior. “This statement demonstrates the deep level of commitment that cancer centers across the U.S. have to preventing cancer in the next generation.”
Vaccination rates remain low across the United States, 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.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. One of the three largest cancer centers in the United States based on patient volume, the Tampa-based facility is one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. With more than 5,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $1.9 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.