Targeting the Rebellion: Cancer Prevention through Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Education of College Students

Presentation: A012
Topic: Education / Care Delivery
Type: Poster
Authors: Brette C Harding, MD, MS1; Danielle Mintzlaff2; Tabitha Galloway, MD1
Institution(s): 1University of Missouri - Columbia, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; 2University of Missouri


Human Papilloma Virus related Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HPV OPSCCa) has become the most common cause of OPSCCa, and the most common cause of HPV related cancers.  The Gardasil-9 vaccine against HPV has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of HPV OPSCCa.  Despite this, less than 50% of adolescents in the United States are fully vaccinated against this virus.


To develop a cancer prevention program targeted toward college students to increase the rates of HPV vaccination in this population.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The cancer center at a tertiary academic hospital partnered with college wellness peer educators.  A lecture on HPV related cancers and prevention with vaccination was developed, advertised for on campus, and was delivered on campus to an audience of college students. 

Methods: Initial education was provided to peer wellness educators, and advertisement was developed with their assistance that would be attractive and effective for college students.  A lecture was given to college students on campus.  A pre- and post-test was provided at the beginning and end of the lecture via QR code to evaluate usefulness and effectiveness.

Results: Forty-six students attended the lecture.  One-third (32.6%) of attendees were either not vaccinated, or unsure of their vaccine status.  Only Two-thirds (67.4%) of the attendees knew that HPV could cause cancer.  After the lecture, 100% of attendees knew that HPV can cause cancer, and 100% also knew that HPV related cancers can be prevented.  Of those who were unvaccinated, 74.4% reported that they planned to get vaccinated against the disease as a result of the lecture.

Conclusions: Educational lectures on HPV vaccination can be an effective means of cancer prevention in the college student population.