(HealthDay News) — The states with the lowest rates for teen vaccinations against human papillomavirus (HPV) are also the states where cervical cancer rates are the highest. These findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held from November 9–12 in San Antonio.

Jennifer Moss, MSPH, from the department of health behavior at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, and colleagues used government data to estimate both HPV vaccination rates and cervical cancer rates.

For example,in Massachusetts, where 69% of teen girls have been vaccinated, about six in 100,000 women develop cervical cancer each year, the researchers said. But in Arkansas, where only 41% of teens have received the HPV vaccine, the rate of cervical cancer is 10 in 100,000 women. The researchers also found that fewer black and poor teens living in states with high rates of cervical cancer were being vaccinated.

“HPV causes several types of cancer, including cervical cancer, and vaccination among adolescents can help prevent them from developing and dying from these cancers as they get older,” Moss told HealthDay. “Increasing vaccination rates now, especially in areas with elevated risks of HPV-related cancer, will help prevent thousands of people from developing cancer.”

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