HPV vaccine for boys would “help prevent oral cancer”

EXTENDING HPV vaccinations to all adolescent boys would help tackle increases in oral cancer, the British Dental Association has said.

The BDA highlighted the fact that in the UK HPV infection is a leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer, especially among young people. It is also linked to five per cent of all cancers worldwide.

They want the NHS HPV vaccination programme, which is currently only offered to girls aged 12 and 13, to be extended to boys.

The call for action coincides with the recent European Immunisation Week which highlighted the role vaccines play in disease prevention.

Dr Graham Stokes, Chair of the BDA Health and Science Committee, said: “Healthcare professionals are seeing 1 in 20 cancer cases linked to this virus and blanket coverage for both sexes is an appropriate and proportionate response.”

Dentists and their teams are also being encouraged to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest methods of detecting oral cancer.

More information and resources are available at www.bda.org/mouth-cancer

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