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Few Alabama adults have received HPV vaccine, survey finds

For the first time ever, Alabama has data to measure the percentage of adults who have received at least one dose of the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine. HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer. The vaccine is recommended for males and females ages 9 to 26. It is most effective when given to children beginning at age 11.

The results were compiled from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a system of health-related telephone surveys that collects state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions and use of preventive services. In 2012 the Alabama Department of Public Health Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (ACCCP) sponsored questions about HPV vaccinations to study how many people were taking advantage of this important protection against cervical and related cancers later in life.

Alabama has obtained data on the HPV vaccine for adolescents in the past, but the results of this survey mark the first time self-reported HPV vaccine uptake has been measured in adults. Almost 20 percent (19.4) of adults in the 18- to 24-year-old age group reported ever having had the vaccine. In this age range, 34.4 percent of females and 4.2 percent of males reported initiating the series.

Because HPV usually does not exhibit any symptoms, it is possible to have it without knowing it and to spread the virus to others. HPV can be prevented with a series of three safe, effective vaccines that protect against the most common types of HPV and their related health problems. These data will serve as a baseline for the ACCCP’s efforts to educate Alabama residents on the benefits of the HPV vaccine.

“It is vital that Alabamians understand the importance of protecting themselves and their children against certain cancers as well as the ease of access to the vaccine,” Dr. Grace Thomas, Assistant State Health Officer for Family Health Services, said. “Whenever the vaccine is taken, it is important that all three doses are received to provide maximum protection.” The data are very encouraging because nearly 70 percent of those vaccinated received all three doses.

The HPV vaccine is available through your health care provider as well as through the Vaccines for Children and Family Planning programs at your local county health department. You may also be able to get the vaccine by talking with your pharmacist.  It is covered by most private insurance policies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

Manoj Mishra, Ph.D., Recognized by AACR for Prostate Cancer Research

It is our pleasure to announce that Manoj Mishra, Ph.D., has recently been recognized for his prostate cancer research at Alabama State University (ASU) by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Dr. Mishra, an associate professor of Biology, was chosen by the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Council as a recipient of the Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award.

“I am so excited about this honor,” Mishra said in a statement released by the university. “It is not only important for me, but it is a step forward in creating academic excellence and a great environment for cancer research at Alabama State University. This recognition brings ASU on the national and global map in cancer research.”

Dr. Mishra is researching the role of diet in cancer progression and clearance.

“The role of daily diet has tremendous impact on cancer progression,” Mishra said. “My long-term objectives and research goals are to reduce health disparities in cancer and to elucidate the molecular mechanism involved during prostate cancer progression and clearance.”

The award includes $1,800 in financial support to offset the costs of registration, travel, and subsistence for participation in AACR Annual Meetings and Special Conferences. These awards are intended to increase the scientific knowledge base of faculty members at Minority-Serving Institutions, and to encourage them and their students to pursue careers in cancer research.

The Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition is very proud to have Dr. Mishra as a member.


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