SAN ANTONIO – Girls who live in states with higher rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are less likely to receive the human papilloma virus vaccine, researchers reported at a meeting on disparities in cancer health care held by the American Association for Cancer Research.
Additionally, girls living in states with a higher proportion of black residents and a lower proportion of high-income residents were less likely to receive the full three-dose course of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. Immunization with the HPV vaccine can help prevent several types of cancers including cervical, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. The researchers analyzed state data primarily from 2012 on vaccination rates, cancer rates, demographics, and use of healthcare.
A health care provider’s recommendation was the biggest influence on whether a teen received the vaccine, said Jennifer L. Moss, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, who led the research. Ms. Moss said the research team hopes the findings will encourage clinicians in states with higher rates of cancer linked to HPV to recommend vaccination to adolescents at every visit.
Teens who have more contact with the health care system are also more likely to receive the full three doses of vaccine, the researchers found. As a result, the researchers also suggest improving access to preventive health care for adolescents in states with higher rates of HPV-related cancers.