MUSC tries to raise state awareness of HPV vaccine

Data published by the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center indicates too few adolescents have been vaccinated for HPV, which may lead to throat and cervical cancers.

The Medical University of South Carolina says too few children and adolescents, both male and female, are being vaccinated against human papillomavirus, the cancer-causing virus commonly called HPV.

It’s sexually transmitted and may lead to both cervical and throat cancers, yet fewer than 40 percent of girls and fewer than 22 percent of boys are vaccinated against HPV in the United States.

The vaccination rates for HPV are even lower in South Carolina.

According to MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center, 50 percent of females ages 13-17 and 80 percent of males ages 13-17 have not received all of the recommended doses of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that South Carolina ranks 18th among all states for new cervical cancer cases and 11th in the country for cervical cancer deaths.

That’s why MUSC and 86 other National Cancer Institute-designated centers have issued a joint statement calling for increasing HPV vaccination rates.

In a press release, Anthony Alberg, interim director of the Hollings Cancer Center, said these deaths pose a serious problem for the state.

“And thanks to the biggest cancer prevention breakthrough in decades, we have a powerful tool to prevent this. As a cancer center, we feel it is critical to raise awareness of this issue and move the needle on increasing vaccinations against HPV.”

For more information about the HPV vaccine, visit the state health department’s website, www.scdhec.gov/Health/Vaccinations/TeenandPreteenVaccines/.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.