How many childhood cancer survivors are vaccinated?
Jan 11, 2018 12:00 AM
It’s a double-whammy. Survivors of childhood cancer have a high risk of developing second cancers, including HPV-related cancers.
Deanna Kepka, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, and Anne Kirchhoff, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, have teamed up on a project to assess HPV vaccination rates for childhood cancer survivors in Utah.
Although the Children’s Oncology Group recommends that childhood cancer survivors get the HPV vaccine, many patients and their parents may hold off. With a $152,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute, Kepka and Kirchhoff’s team of Huntsman Cancer Institute researchers will review vaccination records among a sample of approximately 2,000 young cancer survivors ages 9 to 26. Using a unique epidemiologic database linked with state immunization data, the research team will compare the cancer survivors’ vaccination rates with those of the general population to determine why the differences in immunization. Eventually, Kepka and Kirchhoff hope to design interventions to promote HPV vaccination among childhood cancer survivors.
“Young cancer survivors are potentially some of the most vulnerable among us in terms of contracting HPV-related cancers, but they actually are less likely to get the HPV vaccine,” Kepka says. “We don’t know why that is. We hope this will provide some answers.”