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Press Release

Reps. Castor, Schrier Legislation to Prevent HPV Cancers Passes House

Today, U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor (FL14) and Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA08) celebrated House passage of the Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education and New Treatments for HPV Cancers Act (PREVENT HPV Cancers Act).

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes six types of cancers, which leads to nearly 36,000 cases of cancer each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization established a goal last year of total eradication of cervical cancer due to the highly effective HPV vaccine and commitment by countries around the world.  HPV vaccinations help prevent cancers and save lives, yet many families remain unaware of the important cancer-preventing vaccine. The aim of the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act is to increase vaccination rates with an eye to populations that lag far behind in vaccination rates.

Rep. Castor’s speech on the House Floor can be viewed here.

“If Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the NIH, called a press conference today and announced that we had found a cure for cancer, there would be cause for celebration. Well, since 2006, there's been a safe and effective vaccine that prevents six types of cancer, including cervical cancer and throat cancer. It's been a remarkable development, and with today’s passage of the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act, we will equip communities across the country will the tools they need to vaccinate, educate and empower our neighbors to receive these lifesaving vaccinations. According to data from the CDC, more than one million doses of HPV vaccinations were missed last year. This falling off is worrisome, but we can tackle this problem by helping educate families and parents all across America to avoid these catastrophic diagnoses and save lives in doing it.

“The PREVENT HPV Cancers Act builds on work the CDC is already doing to raise awareness about gynecologic cancers through Johanna's Law, and includes HPV and HPV-related cancers in a national public awareness campaign to educate providers, parents, and the general public about the life saving HPV vaccine. This is especially important in rural areas where there's also been a very dramatic drop off. I want to thank my friends back home at the Moffitt Cancer Center, including, Dr. Anna Giuliano, for educating me and for bringing together advocates across the country, and Rep. Schrier, a pediatrician, for her support for this legislation. I’m confident we can increase health equity and positive outcomes through public education and research, and I’m now calling on my Senate colleagues to take up and pass this critical legislation,” said Rep. Castor.

“As a parent and pediatrician, I want to keep my child and my patients safe and healthy. The HPV vaccine prevents cancer! My son has gotten his HPV vaccine, as have my patients; and I know that the most important factor in whether a parent chooses to immunize their child is a conversation with their healthcare provider. There is so much mistrust and vaccine hesitancy out there, and while immunizations are one of the greatest public health tools we have, they work best when there is widespread use. That’s why I’m excited that this bill passed the House and is hopefully on its way to getting signed into law. It will help spread awareness so more people get vaccinated, and also fund research to prevent death from HPV related cancers. I am proud to support Rep. Castor in this effort,” said Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. 

“Moffitt Cancer Center celebrates this important step toward passage of the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act. The science has been clear for years – we have the tools to eliminate HPV related cancers globally, starting with cervical cancer. Rep Castor has had a long standing collaboration with us at the Moffitt Cancer Center in promoting interventions to prevent HPV cancers. We applaud Rep Castor for her leadership on PREVENT HPV Cancers Act, which could save tens of thousands lives among U.S. men and women per year,” said Anna Giuliano, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer (CIIRC) at the Moffitt Cancer Center, American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.

“The passing of the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act is great for HPV-related cancers that have gone so long without a major spotlight for awareness and prevention. This is especially beneficial in closing the health disparities gap and ensuring that patients have resources, access to care, and ultimately ending cancer diagnoses,” said Tamika Felder, founder of Cervivor, Inc. and a cervical cancer survivor.

H.R. 1550, the PREVENT HPV Cancers Act will:

  • Create a CDC-run national public awareness campaign to increase HPV vaccination rates (especially among males and communities most impacted by HPV cancers) and increase Americans understanding of HPV-associated cancers

Supporting organizations include: American Academy of Family Physicians, Association of American Cancer Institutes, American Association of Immunologists, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American College of Physicians, American Dental Association, American Medical Students Association, American Public Health Association, Anal Cancer Foundation, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association for Clinical Oncology, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, Cancer Support Community, Cervivor, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Florida Community Health Centers, Florida Medical Association, Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple University, Gerontological Society of America, HPV Alliance, Immunization Action Coalition, Infectious Disease Society of American, March of Dimes, Moffitt Cancer Center, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of School Nurses, National Black Nurses Association, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, National Consumers League, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, Nurses Who Vaccinate, Oncology Nursing Society, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Society of Gynecologic Oncology, STChealth, Superman HPV, Tampa Black Nurses Association, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Vaccinate Your Family.