Most head and neck surgeons discuss risk factors for head and neck cancer, including human papillomavirus (HPV), with their patients, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Kelly M. Malloy, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted an online survey of 297 members of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) to assess knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding HPV education and vaccination.
The researchers found that the majority (more than 90 percent) of respondents reported discussing risk factors for head and neck cancer, including HPV as a specific risk factor. About half (49.1 percent) reported discussing the importance of vaccinating preadolescents for HPV, with 38.7 percent not relating to this issue because their patients are adults. More than two-thirds (68.9 percent) of the respondents with daughters reported that their daughters had received or were scheduled to receive the HPV vaccine. For respondents with sons, only 55.8 percent reported that their sons had been vaccinated or that they intended for them to be vaccinated. Attitudes toward HPV vaccine safety and efficacy were divergent. There was considerable support of potential future AHNS activities relating to education, increasing public awareness, and advocacy of health policy related to HPV.
“Head and neck surgeons are knowledgeable about HPV and show generally positive attitudes and beliefs about HPV education and vaccination,” the authors write. “They endorse AHNS actions to improve public and patient education, as well as health policy on HPV.”