Boys to be given HPV vaccine to reduce cancer rates

Boys to be given HPV vaccine to reduce cancer rates

Boys will be able to get the jab from the beginning of the next school year.

Worldwide, about 5% of all cancers are linked to the HPV virus.

Researchers estimate that the HPV vaccine programme will lead to the prevention of over 64,000 cervical cancers and almost 50,000 non-cervical cancers, including cancers of the head and neck, and genital cancers, by 2058.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, killing around 850 people every year. HPV is thought to be responsible for over 99% of cervical cancers, as well as 90% of anal, about 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60% of penile cancers.

Estimates from the University of Warwick suggest the vaccine will prevent 64,138 cervical cancers and 49,649 non-cervical cancers in the United Kingdom by 2058.

The vaccine is a mimic of the virus particle, but when administered into someone's muscle, it creates many more antibodies than a natural infection would, according to John Doorbar, professor of viral pathogenesis at the University of Cambridge.

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'.

It is important not to delay the vaccine as it can become less effective as adolescents grow older, according to Dr Ramsay. "Many of those cancers will occur in later young adult life or middle age, so the benefits will be felt over a long period of time".

In a bid to reduce the number of cancer cases in the United Kingdom, boys will be offered the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the government has announced.

Public Health England said the programme meant infections from some strains of HPV in 16 to 21-year-olds have fallen by 86 per cent.

A study conducted in Scotland showed pre-cancerous cervical disease had been slashed by 71% since the introduction of the vaccine in 2008. Similarly, diagnoses of genital warts have declined by 90% in 15 to 17 year old girls and 70% in 15 to 17 year old boys due to the HPV vaccine.

Parents of children aged 12 to 13 should look out for more information from their children's schools about when the vaccine is being offered. The second dose can be given anytime between 6 to 24 months after.

PHE said there will be no catch-up programme for older boys aged 13 to 18. "The latter is now increasing in incidence, but this trend will be turned around as the vaccination program takes effect in the future", BBC quoted him. Prior to September 2012, a vaccine called Cervarix was used. These have concluded that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective.

More than 100,000 cases of cancer will be prevented under plans to give boys the HPV jab as well as girls, health officials have said. Examples of this include your cervix, anus or mouth and throat.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own.

Data recently published in the Lancet shows that HPV infections could be essentially wiped out from developed countries within decades.

Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with HPV infections, as is the case with other sexually transmitted infections.

"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".

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