KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — A recently published UK study has suggested that vaccinating boys against the human papillomavirus (HPV) may reduce the rate of related cancers in the long run.
Vaccination of young girls has already been proven to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer among women. However, research suggests that cancers among men such as head and neck cancer could also be reduced.
A two-year study of 235 patients in Scotland with head and neck cancer found HPV in 60 per cent of cases.
Co-author of the Cancer Research UK-funded study, Kevin Pollock of Glasgow Caledonian University, said extending the vaccination to boys could help reduce these cancers which have been increasing over the last two decades, particularly among men.
Dr Pollock stated that although alcohol and smoking had been linked to these cancers, a change in sexual behaviour could also have had an impact.
In 1994, there were 100 cases in Scotland, but by 2017 it had increased to 350.
Routine vaccination of schoolgirls in Scotland with HPV has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer since an immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago.
Schoolgirls across the country routinely received the HPV vaccine when they are 12 or 13.
The Scottish government plans to extend the school HPV vaccination programme to cover boys as well as girls.