CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Hollings Cancer Center says it has joined the nation's other 68 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers urging increased vaccination against the human papillomavirus to prevent cancer.
Center officials say more than 25 additional healthcare providers and advocacy groups in South Carolina praised the statement and offered support as well, highlighting the significant issues related to HPV infections in the state.
The statement says too few vaccinations pose what the groups consider "a public health threat" and calls on the nation's doctors, parents and young adults to take advantage of what it considers a rare opportunity to prevent Cervical cancer.
"HPV-related cancers pose a serious problem to our state and nation, and thanks to the biggest cancer prevention breakthrough in decades, we have a powerful tool to prevent this," Interim Director Anthony Alberg said. "As a cancer center, we feel it is critical to raise awareness of this issue and move the needle on increasing vaccinations against HPV."
The Centers for Disease Control says HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is a viral infection that can be spread from one person to another person through anal, vaginal, or oral sex, or through other close skin-to-skin touching during sexual activity.
HPV infection isn't cancer, the CDC site states, but infection can cause changes in the body that lead to cancer. HPV infections usually go away by themselves but having an HPV infection can cause certain kinds of cancer to develop.
HPV is blamed for cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and anal cancer in both women and men. HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils, known as oropharyngeal cancer.