The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can cause six types of cancer (cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal).
In the U.S., 80% of people will contract HPV and 10% will develop chronicity, putting them at high risk for HPV-associated cancers.
HPV infection causes 34,800 cases of cancer in U.S. men and women annually. Approximately 10% of these cancers occur among California residents.
In 2016, oropharyngeal cancer was the most common HPV-associated cancer nationally and in California, where there were 1875 new cases compared to 1495 new cervical cancer cases.
Oropharyngeal cancer in men has steadily increased by an average of 1.9% per year over the past nine years (2008-2017) in California. Currently, cervical cancer is the only HPV-associated cancer for which screening is recommended.
Fortunately, the HPV vaccine prevents over 90% of HPV-associated cancers. This safe and effective vaccine was first introduced in the U.S. in 2006, but HPV vaccination rates still lag behind those of other pre-teen vaccines.
California ranks number 13 in HPV vaccination rates among U.S. states, according to the National Immunization Survey - Teen (2018).
There is still much room for improvement as 73% of California adolescents have started the series, but only 53% have completed it. Thus, over one million California teens are unprotected against future HPV-associated cancers.
Increasing HPV vaccination is important for decreasing the number of HPV-associated cancers every year.
Some evidence-based recommendations include:
In October 2018, the California HPV Vaccination Roundtable, co-founded by the ACS and the CDOC, was launched to carry out these recommendations to increase by HPV vaccination rate by 80% by 2026.