The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and more than 70 National Cancer Center-designated cancer centers across the country endorsed the goal of eliminating cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) with the use of gender-neutral HPV vaccination and evidence-based cancer screening in an open letter to patients and medical providers.
The open letter, which was released on June 7, is supported by the American Cancer Society, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the American Society for Preventive Oncology and the Association of American Cancer Institutes. The change in practice could prevent 12,000 cervical cancers and nearly 40,000 other HPV-related cancers among men and women in the United States, according to the open letter.
“With HPV vaccination and continued cervical cancer screening, the goal of eliminating cervical cancer is truly achievable,” said Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., deputy chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “For Maryland, where The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center is located, we could prevent 60 to 70 women dying from cervical cancer each year. The SKCCC partners with our state to implement its Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan, including strategies to increase the recommendation and uptake of the HPV vaccine.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49.5 percent of girls and 37.5 percent of boys (ages 13-17) completed the vaccine series in 2016 in the U.S, well below the national goal of 80 percent coverage recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health People 2020 objective.
The cancer centers and cancer organizations issued a Call to Action to refocus on the Healthy People 2020 goals and issued additional recommendations for patients and providers to be aware of the benefits of the HPV vaccine and screening and treatment to eliminate cervical and other HPV-related cancers.