Alabama Cancer Center Issues Strong Recommendation On Importance of HPV Vaccination

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the nation’s top institutions for cancer research and development, so when they issue a statement pertaining to the field, it’s best to heed their advice. According to, the issue they’re focusing on recently is trying to get more people vaccinated for the human papillomavirus infection (HPV).

According to Dr. Warner Huh, director of the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology, only about 40% of 11 and 12-year-olds in the United States receive all three doses of the vaccine. But that’s a shockingly low number when you consider the vaccination can prevent 90% of cervical cancers.

Even though vaccines prevent more than 2.5 millions deaths each year, and are almost single-handedly responsible for eradicating one of the world’s most deadly diseases (smallpox), many parents are still leery of injecting them into their kids. One of the biggest problems when it comes to vaccines in general is the belief among many that they can do more harm than good. This is just simply not the case for this vaccine though.

“I will tell you with great confidence that this is the most scrutinized vaccine, and one of the safest vaccines developed,” Huh said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV causes approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses every year, in addition to general warts. The 2014 version of Gardasil, the name of the HPV vaccine, even includes protection against more strains of the virus than when it was originally approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006.

Another one of the issues that Huh and others in the field believe is standing in the way of the vaccine’s success is neglect by pediatricians. Huh says that pediatricians are responsible for advising parents on vaccines for their children and HPV is one that commonly gets forgotten.

“Most pediatricians will never see a case of cervical cancer,” Huh said, “so there’s a bit of a disconnect.”