Bonn. In the opinion of several institutions active in oncology, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) has so far been used far too little. In this country there is a “shockingly low vaccination rate”, warned the German Cancer Aid, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the German Cancer Society (DKG) on the occasion of the National Cancer Prevention Week in mid-September.
Less than 50 percent of 15-year-old girls and only a negligibly small proportion of boys are fully vaccinated against HPV, reported Gerd Nettekoven, Chairman of the Board of Cancer Aid. The full potential of the vaccination, which is recommended for 9 to 14-year-old boys and girls, can only be exploited from a vaccination rate of 80 percent.
“Other countries are successfully showing us how to do this,” says Nettekoven. In his view, there are currently no structures or strategies in Germany to automatically remind children and parents about the vaccination.
Advertise underground investigations more strongly
Dr. Thomas Fischbach, President of the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) sees one reason in the too low participation rates in the U10 and U11 examinations for children of primary school age. “We have to inform parents at the U9 that there are further important examinations and that we should make more use of the additional checkbook for the U10, U11 and J2.”
The health insurance companies are also called upon to advertise these examinations. At the same time, he criticized that these were not paid for by all health insurers. The BVKJ President appealed to his colleagues to use every opportunity for HPV vaccination that arises, regardless of the examinations.
of more than 200 types of HPV are classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
It is also important to start at school, said Dr. Heike Kramer, CEO of the Medical Society for Health Promotion (ÄGGF), because HPV is often not discussed in the course of sex education. That is why doctors from their society held information hours for schoolchildren in schools. According to Kramer, with success: “Our evaluations show that knowledge and vaccination motivation can be significantly and sustainably increased as a result.”
Appeal: vaccination is a simple means of reducing the risk of cancer
There are more than 200 different types of HPV, explained Professor Sigrun Smola, virologist at the Saarland University Hospital, twelve of which are classified as carcinogenic by the International Cancer Research Agency.
Cervical cancer is the most common HPV-related cancer. Most sexually active people will contract HPV at some point in their lives, according to Smolka. The infection usually goes unnoticed, but it can also lead to cell changes, precancerous stages and ultimately cancer.
This could be prevented, said the DKFZ chairman of the board, Professor Dr. Michael Baumann: “Cancer vaccinations are a very easy way to reduce your personal cancer risk.”