Immunizing Adolescents to Prevent Cancers

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can lead to cancer. About one in four people are currently infected with HPV in the United States and approximately 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.1 In many cases the HPV infection goes away on its own, but when it does not the HPV may cause cancer in some people.

  • HPV is known to cause cancers in the following locations: cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum and oropharynx (back of the throat including the base of the tongue and tonsils).
  • Approximately 31,500 new cases of cancer in the U.S. each year are caused by HPV. Of these cancers, about 19,400 were among women and 12,100 among men.2
  • Current HPV vaccines prevent over 90% of all HPV-related cancers from happening.3

Tracking Progress

MaineHealth pediatric and family medicine practices have substantially increased their up-to-date rates for HPV vaccine.

  • As of November 2017, 43% of adolescents cared for at these 37 practices were up-to-date on the full HPV vaccine series (2 or 3 doses) by their thirteenth birthday. Just one year earlier, only 30% of adolescents were up-to-date.
  • Among the highest performing practices, Western Maine Health achieved a 51% up-to-date rate and Maine Medical Partners fully immunized 48% of 13-year-olds.
  • In October 2017, Maine Medical Partners received the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award for having the highest HPV vaccination rates in Region I, which includes New England and the state of New York. This award is given by the U.S. CDC, American Cancer Society and the Association of American Cancer Institutes.

While there is still room for improvement, Maine’s state HPV up-to-date rate is one of the highest in the country. Based on the National Immunization Survey data, Maine’s up-to-date rate of 56% was significantly higher than rates in 26 states, and only significantly lower than the estimated rate for Rhode Island (71%), which mandates HPV vaccination for school entry into seventh grade.4

Percent of 13-Year-Olds Up-To-Date for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (3+ Doses)


The percent of teenage females in Maine who received ≥3 doses of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunization rose 13 points 2015 to 2016 (57%) and was significantly above the U.S. rate of 43%. The rate for teenage males with ≥3 doses of HPV decreased slightly to 44.4% after a dramatic rise from 28% to 47% in the previous period. This rate is statistically above the U.S. rate of 31.5% for males.

HPV Vaccine Immunization Rates at MaineHealth Practices

HealthIndex-Immunizations-HPV-MaineHealth Practices

Adolescent Immunization Schedule

The CDC currently recommends routine HPV vaccination for both female and male adolescents. Learn more

Educational Resources

Find information to use with patients and families.

Learn more

1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination and Cancer Prevention. (January 2018)
2,3 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "How Many Cancers are Linked with HPV Each Year?" (December 2017)
4 Immunization Action Coalition. "State Information: HPV Mandates for Children in Secondary Schools" (updated Feb. 17, 2017). (January 8, 2018)

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