Nav: Home

Parents see cancer prevention potential as best reason for HPV vaccination

June 14, 2018

Bottom Line: Parents of adolescents believed that the potential to prevent certain types of cancer is the best reason for their children to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, whereas other reasons health care providers often give were far less persuasive.

Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Author: Melissa B. Gilkey, PhD, assistant professor of Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill.

Background: "HPV causes over 40,000 cancers in the U.S. each year, including cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and back of the throat. Most of these cases are potentially preventable through HPV vaccination," Gilkey said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that boys and girls receive two doses of the HPV vaccine, beginning at age 11 or 12. As of 2016, about 60 percent of teenagers had received the first dose, but only about 43 percent were up to date on all recommended doses, according to the CDC.

"We still have work to do on improving the timeliness of those doses and on reaching the remaining 40 percent of young people who have not started HPV vaccination," Gilkey said. "To increase uptake, we need to more effectively communicate the value of HPV vaccination to parents."

How the Study Was Conducted: In this study, Gilkey and colleagues developed a best-worst scaling experiment to evaluate 11 reasons health care providers typically give for HPV vaccination. The experiment was administered in 2016 via a national, online survey of 1,177 parents of adolescents ages 11-17. Fifty-seven percent of the parents had initiated HPV vaccination.

Results: Parents said "it can prevent some types of cancer" was the best reason to get the HPV vaccination. Parents also felt that "it can prevent a common infection;" "it has lasting benefits;" and "it is a safe vaccine" were persuasive reasons.

Parents said the worst reasons providers could give included "it is a scientific breakthrough;" "I got it for my own child;" and "your child is due for it."

Messages ranked in the middle were "it works best at this age;" "it should be given before sexual contact;" "getting it on time may mean fewer shots;" and "I think it is important."

The researchers used stratified analyses to evaluate whether the parents' opinions would vary depending on their overall confidence in vaccines. Gilkey said she was surprised to discover that vaccine confidence did not appear to significantly affect parents' perceptions of physicians' messages, and cancer prevention was the most effective message for both groups.

Author's Comments: The study augments previous research that suggested the way in which physicians discuss the HPV vaccine may affect parents' decisions on whether to have their children get the vaccine.

"Our prior research indicates that providers give many different reasons for HPV vaccination, and the findings of this study suggest that they may do better to streamline their communication," Gilkey said. "Cancer prevention is likely to be your best bet no matter who you're talking to."

"Cancer prevention was clearly the most convincing reason for HPV vaccination. Reasons that have to do with sexual activity, scientific novelty, or providers' decisions for their own children may ultimately be distractions that are best avoided," she continued.

Study Limitations: Gilkey pointed out that the study evaluated parents' perceptions about what would motivate them to vaccinate their children, and may not fully reflect real-life conversations during an office visit. Also, because the reasons were ranked, those that were ranked lower may have been less persuasive than the top-ranked messages, but are not objectively "bad" messages to use in discussing HPV vaccination, she said.

Funding & Disclosures: This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
-end-


American Association for Cancer Research

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".