Washington DC — Today, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the leading organization of women’s health care physicians, joined the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC), Indiana University, and other health care groups to launch this country’s first HPV Prevention Week. The one-week series of webinars, social media campaigns and public events will run from January 22 to 28, 2019, during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Cervical cancer, which is related to HPV, was once one of the leading cancers affecting women. Though it is now much less common in the United States thanks to effective Pap test screening and HPV vaccination programs, the American Cancer Society estimates that 13,170 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and that about 4,250 women will die from cervical cancer in 2019 in the United States.
Vaccines against HPV-associated cancers are highly effective but underutilized: Data from 2017 show that less than 50% of U.S. teens had completed the full recommended HPV vaccination series. Several medical professionals suggest that awareness of and education about the HPV vaccine could help eliminate cervical cancer.
“Today, because of the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer is a preventable disease,” said Connie Newman, MD, president of the American Medical Women’s Association, “but education of the medical community and the public is needed if we are to increase HPV vaccination rates.” Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, executive director of Indiana University’s National Center in Excellence in Women’s Health, added, “Use of the HPV vaccine is revolutionizing HPV-related cancers. Imagine a world without HPV diseases!”
“Ob-gyns are in a unique position to educate our patients about the facts on HPV,” said Lisa Hollier, MD, MPH, president of ACOG. “Since January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, now is an excellent time to discuss the Pap test — one of the most effective tools we have to improve cervical cancer outcomes — and the HPV vaccine, which protects against 81% of cervical cancer cases.”
In some areas of the world, cervical cancer rates are still high due to limited screening or access to vaccination, meaning that this preventable cancer continues to affect hundreds of thousands of women. Organizations like the World Health Organization have made eliminating cervical cancer a priority.
"Cervical cancer is the only type of cancer that we are able to eliminate with existing tools. We need a global movement to raise awareness about HPV vaccination and screening to make cervical cancer history," said Shobha Krishnan, MD, founder and president of GIAHC.
For more information on the HPV vaccine please see ACOG’s Practice Advisory: FDA Approval of 9-valent HPV Vaccine for Use in Women and Men Age 27-45 and Committee Opinion #704, Human Papillomavirus Vaccination.
HPV Prevention Week
January 22–28, 2019
Indiana University National Center of Excellence in Women's Health
With support from:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Head & Neck Society
American Sexual Health Association
Head & Neck Cancer Alliance
Head and Neck Institute at Temple University
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
National HPV Vaccination Roundtable
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Ana Viamonte Ros, MD, MPH
YTH: Youth + Tech + Health
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org