HPV vaccination: understanding parents’ decisions

01 February 2016

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes virtually all cervical cancers and has been linked to several other cancer types affecting both men and women. All Canadian provinces and territories have publicly funded HPV vaccination programs for girls, and some provinces have programs for boys. Most of these programs, however, are not yet reaching their target participation rates.

Dr Zeev Rosberger, Director of the Louise Granofsky Psychosocial Oncology Program at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is working toward understanding why people seek or avoid vaccination to prevent HPV infection and cancer. Specifically, over the past few years, he has been investigating what influences parents’ decisions to have their children vaccinated. In November, he was awarded a Canadian Cancer Society Prevention Research Grant to continue this important work.

With the support of this grant of over $280,000, Dr Rosberger will determine what factors come into play when parents decide whether to vaccinate their children against HPV. He will survey parents of girls and boys who are eligible for vaccination (ages 9–16) and who will soon be eligible (ages 5–8). This work will inform ways to improve HPV vaccination uptake to prevent more cancers across the country.

In addition to Dr Rosberger’s new grant, 4 other Prevention Research Grants were announced, including:

  • Enhancing uptake of a genetic testing Lynch syndrome, an inherited genetic disorder that increases the risk of certain cancers – Dr Sarah Ferguson at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network
  • Studying the prices of cigarettes and e-cigarettes near high schools – Dr G. Emmanuel Guindon at McMaster University
  • Continuing the Nicotine Dependence in Teens (NDIT) study, designed to track smoking behaviours in Canadians over time – Dr Jennifer O’Loughlin at the Centre de recherche du CHUM
  • Advancing cancer prevention in deprived neighbourhoods – Dr Lawrence Paszat at the Sunnybrook Research Institute

Thanks to our donors, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute was able to invest over $6 million in prevention research in 2015. We look forward to following our researchers’ progress toward our collective goal of stopping cancer before it starts.

Learn more about the impact of the research we fund.