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Posts tagged “HPV vaccine”

Dental charity welcomes plans to expand HPV vaccine programme to protect boys

The Oral Health Foundation has welcomed plans to expand the HPV vaccine programme to protect boys, as well as girls.

Currently, 12 and 13-year-old girls are offered the immunisation as part of a scheme to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Now, Public Health England has confirmed that the programme will be rolled out to include teenage boys in a bid to lower the number of cancer cases linked to the virus.

HPV (human papilloma virus) is a very common virus, which usually doesn’t cause any problems. However, there are certain strains that increase the risk of some types of cancer.

The vaccination has been incredibly effective in lowering the risk of cervical cancer, and campaigners believed that boys should be vaccinated to protect them against other forms of cancer. Oral cancer, for example, is linked to HPV exposure, and the number of cases in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10-15 years.

HPV vaccination started in 2008 and Public Health England has confirmed that boys in year 8 will be offered the injection from September 2019. It is estimated that around 5% of cancer cases are linked to the HPV, and in the UK, experts believe that extending the vaccination programme could prevent up to 2,000 cases in men each year.

Types of cancer that may be associated with HPV in men include cancer of the penis and anus and head and neck cancer.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, welcomed the news and urged all parents of boys and girls who are eligible for the vaccine to take advantage of the opportunity to have the injection. The programme has already enjoyed incredible results among girls and young women, and expanding the scheme could save many more lives.

New study suggests that HPV vaccines for boys may reduce head and neck cancer rates

A new study suggests that providing the HPV vaccine for boys may contribute to lower cancer rates.

The vaccine, which is currently only available for girls, protects against the HPV, or human papilloma virus. This virus is linked to several forms of cancer, including cervical cancer and head and neck cancer.

A two-year study, which was carried out by researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University, concluded that vaccinating boys could cut the number of cancer cases linked to the HPV. Researchers analysed data taken from 235 patients based in Scotland. The virus was identified in around 60% of cases of head and neck cancer.

Co-author of the study, Dr Kevin Pollock, stated that head and neck cancer has become increasingly prevalent in the last 25 years, especially among the male population. In 1990, there were 100 cases diagnosed in Scotland, but the number had risen substantially to 350 by the end of 2015.

Dr Pollock claimed that the increase can, in part, be linked to drinking and smoking, but exposure to the HPV is also likely to play a part. HPV is more prevalent due to changes in sexual habits and behaviour, and providing a vaccine for boys, as well as girls, could help to bring the number of cases down in the future.

The Scottish Government has confirmed plans to extend the school vaccination programme to include boys, and these proposals have been welcomed by the research team behind this recent study, as well as dental organisations and public health bodies. The latest statistics show that 78% of cases in head and neck cancer are diagnosed in males.

The study has been welcomed by charities that support those affected by head and neck cancer, including the Throat Cancer Foundation.

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