The U.S. is making progress in controlling some tumors, The Annual Report to the Nation shows. Yet rates of cancer related to the human papillomavirus are still high.
Overall, The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows lower cancer rates in the U.S.. The figures state that rates are lower in the most common cancers, including lung, colon, anal, breast and prostate among all genders. Rates of HPV-related cancers however, like cervical cancer, remain elevated despite the existing vaccine. HPV vaccine prevents the viral infection that can trigger HPV-related cancers.
“It’s hard not to be happy that the death rates of these major cancers are going down, but I think the HPV issue is pressing”, says Dr. Joanne Mortimer, director of the Women’s Cancer Program at the City of Hope cancer center in Los Angeles. The fact is doctors cannot get individuals to get vaccinated, she says. That is why figuring out a way to vaccinate individuals to prevent cancer is a challenge.
State health departments, began mandating the HPV shot for school entry shortly after its development, in 2006, but parents balked at the so-called promiscuity vaccine. Many saw it would only promote sexual activity and refused to vaccinate their preteen children for a STD. In 2010, close to 50% of girls ages 13 -17 received at least one dose of the three-dose HPV vaccine. Vaccination rates are much higher in Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
Both genders can benefit of the anticancer vaccine. The CDC recommends it for boys ages 11 to 12 years as well. “It’s not unique to certain populations, and HPV infections are now across all demographics, and that is one reason we are seeing more anal cancers,” says Dr. Julian Sanchez, a colorectal-cancer surgeon at City of Hope.
Rather than the HPV-related tumors, the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows that from 2000 to ’09, cancer-death rates have been declining. These have been dropping by 1.8% each year among men, by 1.4% among women and more among kids up to the age of 14, 1.8%. For both genders, the number of deaths declined with the most common cancers: breast, colon, rectum, lung, prostate, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Experts hope that all the data from the report will motivate Americans to protect themselves from tumors, by adopting a healthier lifestyle and also by getting vaccinated against HPV.