The St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program aims to reduce human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancer deaths locally and nationally by increasing HPV vaccination rates.
HPV is a common virus that has been identified as the primary cause of cervical cancers and five other types of cancer: anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile and oropharyngeal. Despite nearly 15 years of research demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine, U.S. vaccination rates remain significantly lower for HPV than for other recommended adolescent vaccines. As a result, increasing HPV vaccination for children and adolescents has the potential to prevent cancers in adulthood and save thousands of lives.
About the Program
An initiative of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, this program is focused on four broad activities:
- Building the HPV Cancer Prevention Program by developing a five-year plan;
- Engaging partners and strengthening partnerships with local, regional and national groups;
- Identifying opportunities and priorities for increasing HPV vaccination; and
- Implementing and evaluating activities to increase HPV vaccination.
The program is led by director Heather M. Brandt, PhD, a behavioral scientist and leader in cancer prevention and control, primarily in HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. Her research focuses on working with stakeholders to prevent and control cancer by using evidence-based interventions through innovative, partnered approaches. She is also a member of the Department of Epidemiology & Cancer Control.
Why St. Jude?
In June 2018, all National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers, including St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, endorsed the American Cancer Society’s goal of eliminating HPV-related cancers through vaccination and screening. This goal is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 objective.
As the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center dedicated solely to children, St. Jude has an important role and responsibility in increasing the number of children who benefit from the HPV vaccine and reducing their risk of preventable cancers later in life. Moreover, St. Jude is located in Memphis with affiliate locations in the Mid-South region and southeastern U.S., an area with low HPV vaccination rates and a high HPV-associated cancer burden.