Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Lurie Cancer Center Endorses Updated HPV Vaccine Recommendations

Recognizing a critical need to improve national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University has joined with National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers to support recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new guidelines from the CDC recommend that children aged 11 to 12 should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series.

“The NCI-designated cancer centers are at the leading-edge of cancer research, prevention and treatment,” said Lurie Cancer Center Director, Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD. “By working together today, we can lay the groundwork for preventing HPV-related cancers in the future.”

According to the CDC, incidence rates of HPV-associated cancers have continued to rise, with approximately 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers now diagnosed each year in the United States.

Although HPV vaccines can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, vaccination rates remain low across the U.S., with just 41.9 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys completing the recommend vaccine series.

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.

In an effort to overcome these barriers, NCI-designated cancer centers have organized a continuing series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices, and identify collective action toward improving vaccination rates. “HPV vaccination saves lives,” said Platanias. “This is an important opportunity to take action and outsmart cancer.” 

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