Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

British boys will receive HPV vaccine to prevent 'thousands of cancers'

British boys will receive HPV vaccine to prevent 'thousands of cancers'

Boys aged 12 and 13 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, along with boys aged 11 and 12 in high schools in Scotland, will be offered the vaccine in secondary schools from the start of the next school term.

It's been suggested this vaccine, which protects against the human papilloma virus, will prevent more than 64,000 cancers and nearly 50,000 non-cervical cancers by 2058.

Health officials say that boys are already benefitting from protection from the girls' HPV vaccination programme and this has reduced the spread of the virus.

In women, most cervical cancers are caused by HPV, according to sources.

Two doses are wanted to be fully protected.

- Worldwide, about five per cent of all cancers are linked to the HPV virus.

"This is a life saving vaccine and I would encourage all eligible boys and girls to take up the NHS offer of the free vaccine". "It's important not to delay vaccination, as the vaccine may be less effective as adolescents get older".

Some 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in Britain in the next 40 years by a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cancers of the cervix, mouth, anus and genitals, United Kingdom health officials said on Tuesday.

They have predicted cervical cancer - the most common type in women under 35 - could be avoided 64,138 times, and other cancers 49,649 times.

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.

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Figures showed that 83.8 per cent of girls completed the two-dose HPV vaccination course in 2017/18, compared with 83.1 per cent in 2017/17 and 85.1 per cent in 2015/16.

Since the introduction of HPV vaccination, infections of some types of HPV (HPV 16/18) in 16 to 21 year old women have reduced by 86% in England.

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. The HPV vaccination program was initially launched for girls.

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

"It is also important that professionals across education and health are vigilant in offering it where appropriate, and checking that children in the eligible age bracket have had their vaccination".

However, the chief executive of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, Robert Music, remarked that the move to vaccinate boys was "a huge leap forward" and added that 'HPV does not discriminate, it can affect everyone, yet there are still many harmful myths and stigmas surrounding it.

"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".

The British Dental Association (BDA) warned parents to ignore "fake news" from any anti-vaccine groups suggesting injury caused by the vaccine.

BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said: "A universal HPV programme will offer protection to all children from life-changing conditions like throat cancer". Cervical cancer is now the most common cancer in women under 35, killing around 850 women each year.

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