A new study published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal reports missed opportunities for HPV vaccination with youth.
The missed opportunities regarding HPV vaccination were found to not fall on the parents this time. Surprisingly, it is physicians who fall short on recommending or accurately informing young patients and parents on the importance of HPV vaccination.
The human papillomavirus or HPV is a leading cause for a number of cancers. Both boys and girls in their preteen years (around the age of 11) should receive the HPV vaccine in a three-shot series. These are the guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the study, conducted by lead author Ph.D. Melissa B. Gilkey with the Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston found that only 4 out 10 preteen boys have had the vaccination. At the same time, only 6 out of 10 preteen girls had the HPV vaccination. The findings are in line with other statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Th HPV consists of over 150 viruses. Of these, over 40 may lead to infections in the genital areas of both women and men. HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the leading cause of cervical cancer, accounting for 70 percent of the cases registered worldwide. Penile, anal and other types of cancer are also on the list. Moreover, an estimated 14 million people are affected by HPV infection yearly in the U.S.
Despite these facts, the new study reports that physicians are reluctant to discuss HPV or sexually transmitted infections with their patients. The study took the form of a poll conducted in 2014 and including 776 physicians and pediatricians. The questions included in the poll surveyed recommendation for HPV vaccination, the quality of recommendation, the target group, the emphasis placed on the importance of the HPV vaccine.
The results clearly indicate missed opportunities for HPV vaccination with youth. 51 percent of the respondents recommended HPV vaccination on the same day as the patient’s visit. 59 percent of the respondents recommended the HPV vaccination for teens at high risk only. 26 percent recommended the vaccine too late for girls and 39 percent to boys. 27 percent of the respondents didn’t endorse the vaccine at all.
While the results are surprising, the authors of the study concluded that they may be turned into opportunities for better communication and follow-up on the CDC recommended guidelines.
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