AACR: Awareness That HPV Causes Cancer Is Ebbing Among Americans

Furthermore, U.S. vaccination rates for preteens and teens are well below recommended goals
AACR: Awareness That HPV Causes Cancer Is Ebbing Among Americans

MONDAY, April 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Public awareness that human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause a range of cancers is slipping in the United States, according to the results of a survey presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 14 to 19 in Orlando, Florida.

While nearly 78 percent of respondents knew that HPV could cause cervical cancer in 2014, that dropped to about 70 percent in 2020, the investigators found.

"Over 90 percent of HPV-associated cancers could be prevented with the HPV vaccination, yet vaccine uptake remains suboptimal," lead author Eric Adjei Boakye, Ph.D., of Henry Ford Health in Detroit, said in a news release. "Given the connections between HPV-associated cancer awareness and HPV vaccination uptake, it is important we increase the population's awareness of this link, as it may help increase vaccine uptake."

For the study, the researchers examined data from the Health Information National Trends Survey from five time points between 2014 and 2020. Each time point featured responses from between 2,000 and 2,350 individuals.

Awareness that HPV could cause anal, oral, and penile cancers was low throughout the study, according to the researchers. Knowledge of HPV's link to anal cancer fell slightly -- from about 28 percent in 2014 to just over 27 percent in 2020. Awareness of the oral cancer connection dropped from just over 31 percent in 2014 to about 29 percent in 2020. Similarly, awareness of the link with penile cancer slipped from about 30 to 28 percent.

Only about 55 percent of U.S. teens and preteens have received all recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. The government has a goal of getting 80 percent of adolescents fully vaccinated.

The study was funded by Henry Ford Health.

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