The American Cancer Society (ACS) has endorsed human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the principal source of guidance on U.S. immunization policy. An updated guideline from the ACS supports the ACIP recommendation to vaccinate males as well as females at ages 11 to 12 to protect against HPV infection, which is associated not only with cervical cancers, but also with penile, anal, oropharyngeal, and other cancers.
The report was published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The ACS first published a guideline for the use of prophylactic HPV vaccines for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancer in 2007. At that time, the vaccine was not approved for use in males, and there was insufficient evidence for vaccinations beyond the age of 18. Since then, additional studies have added to the evidence; new versions of the vaccine have been licensed for use in the U.S.; and there have been new immunization recommendations from the ACIP.
Studies indicate that vaccination will be as effective against cancers related to HPV in males as it is in females. Those cancers include penile cancer in males; cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in females; and anal and oropharyngeal cancers in males and females. Vaccinating males may also provide additional protection to females.
A summary of the ACS recommendations follows:
“HPV vaccination has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of cancers and hundreds of thousands of precancers each year,” said lead author Debbie Saslow, PhD. “It is critical that all stakeholders—families, health care providers, and others—make HPV vaccination a priority, so that prevention of the vast majority of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers can become a reality.”