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

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ASCO HAS officially endorsed a statement by the 70 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers calling for increased human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and screening to eliminate 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% of cervical cancer cases.1 

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 United States remain low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 49.5% of girls and only 37.5% of boys ages 13 to 17 years in the United States completed the vaccine series in 2016. 

To increase HPV vaccination rates and 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% of males and females ages 13 to 15 by 2020 
  • Screen 93% of age-eligible females for cervical cancer by 2020 
  • Provide prompt follow-up and proper treatment of females who screen positive for high-grade cervical precancerous 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 
  • The health-care community to educate parents, guardians, community members, and colleagues about the goal of eliminating cancers caused by HPV in the United States. 

The American Cancer Society, the 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. ■


1. de Sanjose S, Quint WG, Alemany L, et al: Lancet Oncol 11:1048-1056, 2016. 

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