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DOH Volusia - Volusia's HPV-Related Cancer Deaths Double State Rate; Summit June 7

By Holly Smith

June 05, 2017

Volusia County, Fla. - In 2015, the rate of people dying from human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers in Volusia County was nearly twice the state rate. According to a public health data brief released by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Volusia County, in 2015 four people per 100,000 in Volusia County died from cancer caused by HPV. That's twice the State’s age-adjusted rate of two deaths per 100,000 from the disease.

"We can protect our youth from this disease," said Patricia Boswell, DOH-Volusia administrator. "By vaccinating them against HPV before they contract the HPV virus, we can keep them from developing this type of deadly cancer."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one way in which HPV is spread is through sexual contact. Often HPV goes away on its own, and people infected often do not experience health problems. However, if the virus lingers in the body, it can lead to cancer.

In 2015, 24 people died of HPV-related cancers in Volusia County. Half of those deaths were from cervical cancer. Thirty percent of deaths were from throat cancer.

The report contains a few bright spots, Boswell said. The HPV-related cancer death rates have remained steady over the past five years. Additionally, parents increasingly are getting their children vaccinated against HPV.

From 2012 to 2016, 50 percent more adolescents and young adults received the HPV vaccination in Volusia County. The large increase in vaccination rates can be attributed to the CDC encouraging male vaccinations and decreasing the vaccination age to 11-12, Boswell said.

That large increase in vaccinations still falls far below where public health officials would like to be. By the end 2016, only 3,056 adolescents and youth in Volusia County had been vaccinated against HPV and will not develop HPV-related cancer.

"We're beginning to see progress against this disease," Boswell added. "But we need to keep educating parents and teens that this is one cancer that is preventable if you get the vaccine."

Medical professionals, parents, students and community members are encouraged to attend "Prevent Cancer: The HPV Epidemic" from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 7, at Daytona State College/UCF Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach. Medical professionals and a HPV-related cancer survivor will discuss the human papilloma virus (HPV), its relationship to cancer, and protecting youth and young adults from developing HPV-related disease.

There is no cost to attend. Advanced registration is suggested. Information is online at

The most recent death and morbidity rates available are from 2015. The full data brief is online at


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