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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UTHealth: Faculty Finds More Than 70 Percent of American Adults Don’t Know of Cancers Caused by HPV

UTHealth School of Public Health assistant professor Dr. Ashish A. Deshmukh, published a paper in JAMA Pediatrics revealing more than 70 percent of U.S. adults are unaware that human papillomavirus (HPV) causes anal, penile, and oral cancers.

“Men are also less likely than women to know that the virus carries a risk of cancer,” said Dr. Deshmukh, who led the study which included 2,564 men and 3,697 women who took part in the Health Information National Trend Survey. Two-thirds of men and one-third of women ages 18-26 did not know that HPV causes cervical cancer. More than 80 percent of men and 75 percent of women in the same age group – and 70 percent of all American adults of any age – did not know that HPV can cause oral, anal, and penile cancers.”

Dr. Deshmukh’s findings come on the heels of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement that recommends adults ages 27-45 to get the HPV vaccine based on discussion with their clinician. A 2018 report by the CDC suggested only 51 percent of those in the recommended age groups were vaccinated.

“Low levels of HPV knowledge in these older age groups is particularly concerning, given that these individuals are (or will likely be) parents responsible for making HPV vaccination decisions for their children,” said Dr. Kalyani Sonawane, assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health, the study’s co-lead author.

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