Preventing Cancer: UPMC Cancer Community Speaks Out in Support of HPV Vaccine

7/12/2016

WHAT: The UPMC cancer community understands how the human papillomavirus (HPV) contributes to loss of life and morbidity. To show support of the upcoming Allegheny County Board of Health’s vote on whether to mandate the HPV vaccine for children entering the 7th grade, UPMC will host a press briefing to share the facts about this life-saving vaccine, which can prevent HPV-related cancers, including cervical, oropharyngeal and cancers of other reproductive organs. The Allegheny County Board of Health meets Wednesday, July 13, 2016 to vote on the HPV vaccine requirement. Its decision will set the pace for other counties, the state and hopefully the nation. 
 
WHY: HPV vaccines are safe and effective and will spare children the risk for cervical and head and neck cancers related to the HPV virus.
 
ABOUT THE VACCINE:
 
• The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the CDC and other trusted organizations recommend that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine at ages 11-12 because the vaccine produces the most infection-fighting cells at this age.
• 79 percent of boys and girls in the Pittsburgh area are not fully protected against HPV.
• Each year in the United States, about 33,000 new cases of cancer are found in parts of the body where HPV is often found. HPV causes about 26,800 of these cancers.
• Choosing not to vaccinate is not a risk-free choice—HPV vaccines prevent serious cancers in both males and females.
• In recent years, UPMC physicians have recorded a 500 percent increase of patients who have cancer in the back of their throats combined with HPV infection.
 
WHO:
 
• Jonas Johnson, M.D., Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology.
• Nancy Davidson, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Hillman Professor of Oncology.
• Robert Edwards, M.D., professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
 
WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 11
 
WHERE: Biomedical Science Tower (BST), Room S100-A, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, 15213
 
Note to Media: To cover this event, contact Amy Charley at 412-738-3511 or CharleyA@upmc.edu. Please meet a media relations representative at the BST entrance on Lothrop Street.

For Journalists

Cynthia Patton
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412-586-9773
pattonc4@upmc.edu