ASCO Supports NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Goal of Eliminating HPV-Related Cancers

June 7, 2018

ASCO has officially endorsed a statement by the 70 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers calling for increased HPV vaccination and screening to eliminate human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers. The full uptake of the vaccine and screening could 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.

Cervical cancer is the most prevalent HPV-related cancer, and the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide; HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for approximately 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.[i]

Because of this, ASCO strongly supports the 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.

Unfortunately, HPV vaccination completion rates across the U.S. remain low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.

To increase HPV vaccination rates combined with appropriate cervical cancer screening measures, the NCI-designated centers have issued the following call to action that is in alignment with the nation’s Heathy 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, the centers 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.

The American Cancer Society, American Association for Cancer Research, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the American Society for Preventive Oncology and the Association of American Cancer Institutes have joined ASCO in officially endorsing this statement.

Learn more by visiting the HPV and Cancer page on ASCO’s Patient Information website, Cancer.Net.  

[i] de Sanjose, S., et al., Human papillomavirus genotype attribution in invasive cervical cancer: a retrospective cross-sectional worldwide study. The lancet oncology, 2010. 11(11): p. 1048-1056.