BOYS will be offered the HPV vaccine for the first time this year in a decisive strike in the war on cancer.
The move could prevent about 30,000 cancers in men over the next 40 years, experts believe.
1 Schoolboys are to be offered the HPV vaccine for the first time this year in a landmark move in the fight against cancerCredit: Getty – Contributor
Girls have been offered a vaccine against the human papilloma virus since 2008 to beat cervical cancer.
But the virus causes other cancers — including in the mouth, throat, anus and penis. Boys aged 12 and 13 will be offered the jab for free this September.
Robert Music, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said: “The extension of the HPV vaccine to boys is a huge leap forward.”
“HPV does not discriminate – it can affect everyone, yet there are still many harmful myths and stigmas surrounding it.
‘HUGE LEAP FORWARD’
And Prof Beate Kampmann, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “This is a triumph for gender equality in cancer prevention.”
“It’s pleasing to see the UK follow the example of other countries like Australia, where the vaccine has been implemented for girls since 2007 and for boys in 2013.
Warwick University experts estimate Public Health England’s vaccine programme will prevent 64,138 cases of cervical cancer and 49,649 HPV-related cancers in both sexes by 2058.
Head of immunisation at Public Health England, Dr Mary Ramsay, said: “This offers the chance to make HPV-related diseases a thing of the past and build on the success of the girls’ programme.
“I encourage parents of eligible boys and girls to take up the offer of this potentially life-saving vaccine.”
Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy added: “By extending the programme to boys we’ll go a step further to preventing more cases of HPV-related cancer every year.”
Worldwide, five per cent of all cancers are linked to HPV, a group of viruses which affects skin and the moist membranes lining the body.
Video explaining the different types of bone cancer, symptoms and treatments