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Massey endorses statement to Congress: “We can and must eliminate HPV-related cancers”

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Image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

VCU Massey Cancer Center joins the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), cancer centers and health organizations nationwide in advocating for the United States to take action toward the elimination of cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) through HPV vaccination and evidence-based cancer screening. Massey calls on stakeholders across multiple sectors to join us in making a commitment to realizing the elimination of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers globally.

“The HPV vaccine is really a gift of modern medicine. At VCU Massey Cancer Center, we encourage all parents with children -- both boys and girls -- ages 9 and older to talk with their medical provider about getting their children vaccinated against HPV. Getting the vaccine when children are young and before they have been exposed to HPV is the best way to prevent the cancers that are caused by HPV,” says Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate director for cancer prevention and control at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

Massey endorses the following statement issued in a congressional briefing on June 27, 2019:

Health organizations, patient advocates to Congress: We can and must eliminate HPV-related cancers

In May of 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General released a call to action for the global elimination of cervical cancer, a preventable and curable cancer.

We the undersigned, including medical and public health organizations, and patient advocates, endorse the WHO goal and advocate for the United States (U.S.) to take action toward the elimination of cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) through gender-neutral HPV vaccination and evidence-based cancer screening.

The U.S. can and should be one of the first countries to achieve elimination of cervical cancer, with other HPV-related cancers in males and females to follow. Therefore, we issue the following Call to Action in alignment with the U.S. Healthy People 2020 goals:

  • Complete 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
  • Provide prompt follow-up and proper treatment of females who screen positive for high-grade cervical pre-cancerous lesions

The above interventions are the optimal route to cervical cancer elimination. They have been proven beneficial and cost-effective in both low- and high-resource settings, and therefore are recommended as priority health measures in all countries.

We can and must contribute resources needed to implement these strategies.

Consider the facts:

  • Only 53.1 percent of girls and 44.3 percent of boys, ages 13-17 years, in the U.S. completed the vaccine series in 2017.
  • Today, over 33,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed among men (oropharyngeal, anal, and penile cancers) and women (oropharyngeal, cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers) every year in the U.S. This includes 12,000 cases of cervical cancer.
  • 630,000 cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed each year worldwide. By 2040 approximately 500,000 women are predicted to die of cervical cancer each year as the global burden of cervical cancer is growing.

Continuation of the status quo is not an option. For the first time in history we have the opportunity to eliminate up to six cancers affecting both men and women.

We call on stakeholders across multiple sectors to join us in making a commitment to realizing the elimination of cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers globally.

HPV endorsement document

Learn more about the HPV vaccine.

Learn more about cervical cancer screening.

Written by: Jenny Owen

Posted on: June 27, 2019