March 4, 2018, is International HPV Awareness Day, which aims to promote education about human papillomavirus (HPV), raise awareness about prevention methods, and encourage governments and individuals to take advantage of the HPV vaccine and screening for cancer.
ASCO strongly supports use of the HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of cancer. In April 2016, the society issued a policy statement supporting the recommendation to markedly increase the proportion of young boys and girls receiving the HPV vaccine in the United States and worldwide because research has shown that it is most effective in preventing cancer. The statement noted that 10% of new cases of cancer worldwide each year are caused by viral infections with “The bulk of these cancers and resultant deaths are attributable to a relatively small number of viruses,” including HPV, which causes an estimated 600,000 new cases of cancer per year worldwide.
In March 2017, ASCO issued an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the use of the HPV vaccine for preventing cervical cancer aimed at physicians in various resource settings around the world. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, with 85% of cervical cancer diagnoses and 87% of cervical cancer deaths occurring in less developed regions. Incidence rates are particularly high in parts of Africa and Latin America. To reduce the incidence of cervical cancer globally, the guidelines recommended:
- Two doses of HPV vaccine for girls ages 9 to 14 years, with an interval of at least 6 months and up to 12 to 15 months between doses
- Three doses of HPV vaccine for girls who have tested positive for HIV
- Vaccinating boys if there is at least a 50% coverage in priority female target population, sufficient resources, and such vaccination is cost effective.
The recommendations were then broken down for settings with limited, basic, maximal, and enhanced resources.
Watch a video about ASCO’s recommendations for reducing the global burden of cervical cancer.