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group of four people looking at a sunset

More Than 40 Health Organizations Launch Texas HPV Coalition to Help Prevent HPV-Related Cancers

Last summer, more than 40 health organizations including the American Cancer Society, Texas Medical Association, UT System, Texas Pediatric Society, the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, publicly launched the Texas HPV Coalition. The Coalition aims to reduce cancer-related deaths blamed on human papillomavirus (HPV), by increasing vaccination rates statewide.

The HPV vaccine can help prevent 6 types of cancers, but Texas’ vaccination rate is woefully low. June 8th, 2018 marked the 12th anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the HPV vaccine, but Texas currently ranks 44th out of 50 states for HPV vaccination rates among children ages 13-17, with only 39 percent of kids receiving this vaccine. Through a combination of vaccination, screening, and treatment of precancers, there is the possibility to eliminate vaccine-preventable HPV cancers in Texas. The 2-shot vaccine series achieves the most complete protection against HPV cancers when the series is completed before age 13, so physicians and other health care professionals recommend people at the ages of 11 to 12 receive the shots.

“The HPV vaccine is cancer prevention,” said Greg Parkington, Senior Manager, State Health Systems for the American Cancer Society. “Texas has a massive opportunity to raise HPV vaccine rates and help protect children against 6 types of cancer. This Coalition believes Texas can do better to save lives and protect more people from HPV-related cancers.”

The HPV vaccine is safe and highly effective. If all 11- and 12-year-olds were vaccinated, an estimated 90 percent of HPV cancers could be prevented, which would mean about 31,000 fewer cases of cancer each year.

The statewide Texas HPV coalition is dedicated to increasing HPV vaccination rates in Texas through coordinated leadership, strategic planning, education, research, and collaboration. Members include partners from diverse sectors across Texas including immunization, physicians, public health, academia, professional societies, cancer prevention and control organizations, industry, state and local agencies, and health systems.

About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. An estimated 80 percent of people will get HPV during their lives. HPV infection causes six different types of cancer: cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and throat cancers. Each year in the United States, about 31,500 men and women are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV. There is no treatment for HPV infection, but vaccination and screening can prevent most HPV-related cancers.