Thursday, 19 September, 2019

UK offers HPV vaccines to boys, aims to stop 100,000 cancer cases

Mandy Parker was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015 Mandy Parker was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015
Anna Jefferson | 10 July, 2019, 15:01

PHE is now estimating prevention of 85, 000 cancers in women, including 64,000 cervical cancer cases, and 29,000 cancers in men by 2058 with the help of this vaccination program.

Human papillomavirus comes in more than 100 different strains and is normally harmless, but can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, penis, anus, head and neck.

Peter Baker, campaign director for HPV Action, said: "We made the case for this for five long years because we know that universal vaccination will save men's and women's lives, reduce suffering and in the long run save money too".

So far, 10 million doses of HPV vaccine have been given to young women in this country meaning over 80% of women aged 15 to 24 have received the vaccine.

United Kingdom health officials have announced the extension of a vaccination programme against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cancers of the cervix, mouth, anus and genitals, to cover boys as well as girls.

- HPV is thought to be responsible for more than 90 per cent of cervical cancers, as well as 90 per cent of anal, about 70 per cent of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60 per cent of penile cancers.

Public health minister Seema Kennedy added: 'Programmes like this are at the heart of our work to help people live longer, healthier lives through the NHS long term plan and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to take up this potentially life-saving vaccine'.

Doctor Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, spoke to Sky News and said: "The girls' programme has been very successful so far and it's already seen an impact in men as well as woman".

"HPV can affect everyone, it does not discriminate, yet there are still several harmful stigmas and myths that surround it".

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High-risk HPV infections are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life if they don't get the HPV vaccine".

So, the health officials in the United Kingdom suggested that it is better to vaccinate young boys and girls before they become sexually active.

"It pleases us to see the United Kingdom following the example of other nations such as Australia, which have implemented the vaccine for boys in 2013 and for girls since 2007".

Parents with children aged between 12 and 13 should look out for information from schools.

"The potential of this vaccine to save lives and prevent the complications of cancer is huge, and since it has been available on the NHS for girls, it has had excellent take-up, with impressive results - it's important this success is replicated with boys", The Royal College of General Practitioners in the United Kingdom said.

While a large proportion of boys may have been protected by immunisation among girls they may grow up to have sex with, introducing the jab for boys as well ensure protection across the population.

PHE said there will be no catch-up programme for older boys aged 13 to 18.

Extensive reviews of HPV vaccine safety have been undertaken by various independent health bodies/authorities worldwide including the EMA, CDC, WHO and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM). If they miss out on the vaccination for any reason they should talk to their school nurse/immunisation team about getting the vaccine at a later date.

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