New research on survival outcomes for several types of HPV-related cancers has uncovered serious disparities with regard to race, sex and age among patients in the United States, OncLive reports. Younger patients, women and white people tend to fare much better after diagnosis than other patients.
For the study, investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion examined data from 27 different population-based cancer registries. Together, these research pools covered approximately 59 percent of the U.S. population and were used to determine how survival rates varied for several types of HPV-related cancers — including mouth and throat cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, anal cancer and penile cancer.
Investigators specifically focused on invasive cancers diagnosed from 2001 to 2011. During that time, physicians diagnosed a total of 220,211 HPV-related cancers across the country. They followed those patients through 2011, divided them into several different demographic groups and assessed their overall survival outcomes.
After crunching the numbers, findings showed that five-year survival rates were consistently higher among white patients than Black patients for all HPV-associated cancers and age groups. Investigators also found that older patients with HPV-related cancers tended to die sooner after diagnosis than young people. Men were also found to have much lower survival rates for many types of HPV-related cancers of the anus and rectum when compared with women.
Ultimately, the study indicated that better access to cancer screening and treatment among all ethnic groups as well as increased HPV vaccination among both men and women were likely needed to reduce these survival disparities. Researchers also cited several ways to help prevent developing an HPV-related. These included getting the HPV vaccine as early as age 9 and as late as age 26 and getting screened for cervical cancer at the recommended ages. For those who are diagnosed, researchers advised devising a personalized care plan with their doctor.
“Health care providers can take steps to assure that they are offering the recommended screening and treatment, regardless of a patient’s race, age or sex,” wrote study coauthor Mona Saraiya, MD, in a press release. Study authors also wrote that they hope their descriptions of the disparities in their report will lead to future interventions aimed at improving access to cancer care across the country.