Parents Say Cancer Prevention Best Reason for HPV Vaccination

Findings based on large survey of parents to assess best, worst reasons for vaccination

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THURSDAY, June 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Parents view cancer prevention as the best reason for guideline-consistent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, according to a study published online June 14 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Melissa B. Gilkey, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted an online survey of 1,177 parents of adolescents to quantify parent views on the best and worst reasons health care providers commonly give for guideline-consistent HPV vaccination.

The researchers found that parents viewed cancer prevention as the best reason for HPV vaccination (P < 0.001). Preventing a common infection, having lasting benefits, or being a safe vaccine were also endorsed (all P < 0.001). The worst reasons given by health care providers included: it is a scientific breakthrough; I got it for my own child; and your child is due (all P < 0.001).

"Our prior research indicates that providers give many different reasons for HPV vaccination, and the findings of this study suggest that they may do better to streamline their communication," Gilkey said in a statement. "Cancer prevention was clearly the most convincing reason for HPV vaccination. Reasons that have to do with sexual activity, scientific novelty, or providers' decisions for their own children may ultimately be distractions that are best avoided."

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