ASCO Urges Aggressive Efforts to Increase HPV Vaccination and Prevent Cancer

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On Monday, April 11, ASCO released a policy statement calling on member oncologists to help lead a push for all adolescents and young adults to be vaccinated against cervical and other cancer.

Use of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines should be rapidly expanded to protect thousands of young people in the United States—and millions worldwide—from life-threatening cancers, ASCO said in the statement. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology,1 the statement outlines current barriers to HPV vaccination and recommendations to promote the uptake of these vaccines, which have the potential to save millions of lives.

ASCO supports 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 Society also makes recommendations in the following areas to increase the use of the vaccine:

  • Education and awareness among health-care professionals, policymakers, patients, and the public, including ways to improve delivery in doctor’s offices with the use of electronic health record systems;
  • Coverage and access for routine vaccination, including consideration of school-based HPV vaccination programs, which have been successful in other countries; and
  • Addressing critical knowledge gaps through research on effective ways of increasing routine vaccine use.

ASCO also believes oncologists can play a vital role in increasing the uptake of HPV vaccines. While most oncologists will not be the direct health-care providers of these preventive measures, they still play a very important role in the process through research and advocacy. ASCO encourages oncologists to advocate for and actively promote policy change to increase the use of the vaccination. 

In addition to the statement, ASCO will publish a guideline later this year on cervical cancer prevention in primary care that also addresses HPV vaccination.

Read the full statement here: ■


1. Bailey HH, Chang LT, duPont NC, et al: American Society of Clinical Oncology statement: Human papillomavirus vaccination for cancer prevention.
J Clin Oncol 34:1803-1812, 2016.

© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.