New data have shown that states having higher rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality also have low HPV vaccination rates among young women.
The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held November 9-12 in San Antonio, TX.
“Cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates vary widely by state,” said Ms. Jennifer L. Moss, doctoral student in the department of health behavior at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Our data show that adolescent girls remain vulnerable to disease in areas where women already have a higher risk of developing and dying from cervical cancer. If more adolescents, both girls and boys, in these states received an HPV vaccine, their risk of HPV-related cancers would drop dramatically.”
Ms. Moss and colleagues collected state-based data on HPV vaccination rates from the National Immunization Survey–Teen and on cancer rates in different states from the U.S. Cancer Statistics database.
The research showed that as cervical cancer incidence rates increased, HPV vaccine initiation rates among girls decreased.
“For example, in Massachusetts, about 6 per 100,000 women develop cervical cancer each year, and 69 percent of teen girls have initiated HPV vaccination,” Ms. Moss said. “However, in states with higher rates of cervical cancer incidence, such as Arkansas, where the rate is 10 per 100,000 women, vaccination is much lower—41 percent of teen girls.”
The study also found that HPV vaccine initiation was lower among girls living in states with higher cervical cancer mortality rates, higher proportions of non-Hispanic black residents, and lower proportions of high-income residents.