More than 30,000 cancers linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and most can be prevented by a vaccine, according to a new report.
“Increasing vaccination coverage could decrease the cancer incidence and disparities in the United States,” researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote in the report “Human Papillomavirus-Associated Cancers — United States, 2008-2012” published Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, http://bit.ly/29ry5Ui.
HPV can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, oropharyngeal, anal and rectal cancers. Roughly 38,793 HPV-associated cancers were diagnosed annually from 2008-’12, with about 59% affecting females, according to the CDC. The most common types were cervical carcinomas and oropharyngeal squamous cell cancers.
The annual average is up from about 33,369 a year in 2004-’08, although the increase is due in part to the inclusion of additional cancer sites.
Utah experienced the lowest rate in the most recent study with 7.5 cases per 100,000 people while Kentucky’s rate was highest at 14.7 per 100,000. There also were differences based on race and ethnicity. For example, cervical carcinoma rates were higher among blacks than whites and among Hispanics compared to non-Hispanics.
Of the 38,793 annual cancer cases associated with HPV based on their location and cell type, the CDC estimates 30,700 (79%) are attributable to HPV and 28,500 could be prevented with a 9-valent HPV vaccine.
The Academy and CDC recommend HPV vaccine as part of routine immunization for males and females at age 11 or 12 years, although it can be started as early as 9 years. They also recommend catch-up vaccination for females ages 13 to 26 and males 13 through 21 who have not been vaccinated or did not complete the three-dose series. Males ages 22 to 26 also should be vaccinated if they have sex with other men or are immunocompromised.
However, HPV vaccination rates have been lagging. Roughly 60% of female teens and 41.7% of male teens in the U.S. received at least one dose in 2014. Only 39.7% of the females and 21.6% of the males completed the three-dose series, according to the report.
In addition to recommending vaccination, the CDC stressed the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings.
“Most cervical cancers are preventable with regular screening for precancerous lesions among women aged 21-65 years linked with follow-up for abnormal test results,” researchers said.