HPV Vaccination Rates
Although it’s clear that children should be vaccinated for HPV, the rate for this vaccination is only 60% to 65%, compared to 90% for chicken pox vaccination, Dr. Cognetti said. Part of the reason is that parents don’t consider their kids at risk for sexually transmitted infections, he said.
Explore This IssueJune 2022
The panelists tended to agree that it’s worth discussing HPV as a possible cause of oropharyngeal cancer symptoms—even if that prompts uncomfortable questions. Those awkward discussions are relatively uncommon, the panel physicians agreed.
Dr. Cognetti related a story about a patient who said she had seen multiple doctors about her ear pain and an inability to open her mouth normally. She was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer. “She was shocked to find out that [her symptoms were] related to HPV, because it was a topic that wasn’t discussed or disclosed at the time. That left a lasting impression on me from a medical standpoint that we educate our patients on this topic.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance medical writer based in Florida.