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Roswell Park calls for HPV vaccination for adolescents

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, along with other cancer centers across the nation, issued a joint statement this month urging parents and providers to get adolescents vaccinated against HPV.

Cancers related to the human papillomavirus “are common, on the rise and, for more than a decade, preventable,” Roswell Community Outreach Manager Christy Widman said in a news release.

Roswell Park President and CEO Candace Johnson joined colleagues from 68 other cancer centers in reiterating their endorsement of HPV vaccination for adolescents and young adults as a safe, effective way to protect against cervical and other cancers.

The Buffalo cancer hospital is among others across the country that has helped research the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine, as well as how to best educate families about its effectiveness.

[RELATED STORY: Screenings, HPV vaccine have cut upstate cervical cancer rates]

HPV vaccination rates remain low across the U.S.: fewer than 40 percent of girls and just over 21 of boys get the recommended two-dose vaccine series. Roswell researchers – as part of a study funded by the National Cancer Institute and Roswell Park Alliance Foundation – have found ways they believe will improve those rates.

“Many HPV-related cancers are preventable with the HPV vaccine (Gardasil9®) which is a safe and effective vaccine,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Martin Mahoney, professor of oncology in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park. “This research offers practical strategies to help parents and clinicians to overcome barriers in order to increase HPV vaccination rates, which is a real opportunity to prevent thousands of cases of cancer.”

The study collected information about on what works best in community care settings, and designed a toolkit to help health providers implement best practices, Widman said.

Physicians interested in those practices can call the foundation at or  visit the Roswell Park website at www.roswellpark.org.

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90 percent of those cases can be prevented through screenings and vaccinations.

The CDC recommends the vaccine series be used to immunize girls and boys ages 11 or 12, although children as young as age 9 can be vaccinated. Males and females who didn’t get the vaccine when they were younger may still be able to be vaccinated between the ages of 13 and 26. Learn more about HPV vaccine recommendations at CDC.gov.

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