In the UK, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination has a strong societal association with preventing female cancers and it has been primarily administered to teenage schoolgirls.
However, the medical community is now recognising the importance of HPV in men. Studies into the effects of HPV in male have always demonstrated a link between HPV and penile and anal cancers; this was most pronounced in homosexual men.
Almost all women will be infected with HPV over the course of their life without any ill-effect. There will often be no symptoms, and in the vast majority of cases the infection will clear of its own accord, but in very few cases, persistent infection can lead to cervical disease.
Statistics have indicated that 99.7 per cent of all cervical cancers are caused by an infection from a high-risk HPV, and can be caught through intimate contact.
A recent study analysed vaccination and screening records for 140,000 women who went for their first cervical screen from 2008 to 2016 and found that their programme led to “a dramatic reduction in pre-invasive cervical disease” and was “highly effective”.
Since the immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago, researchers have reported that the vaccine has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women and there has been a 90 per cent cut in pre-cancerous cells.
Lead Researcher, Dr Kevin Pollock, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “The main message is that the vaccine works – we assessed 140,000 women in this study and because we can link status of vaccination to the disease its impact is indisputable.”
Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust commented: “The findings of this research are highly exciting and clearly demonstrate the impact of the HPV vaccine in protecting the cervical health of future generations.”
Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick said that the study displayed the programme “will save lives” and that plans were in place to “build on this success” by extending the HPV vaccine programme to boys later this year.
Ongoing research has shown that men would also benefit from the HPV vaccine. Currently, the vaccination is not available to males through the NHS.
However, here at Harrow Health Care Centre, we offer a private HPV vaccination service which is also available to men and boys. It is also of value to those women now over 25 who were above the age group for the vaccination when it was introduced.
That is why we are encouraging both males and females to have the HPV vaccination, as it is clear from recent findings that the vaccine is highly effective and ultimately can prevent sexually transmitted infections and cancers in both genders.
For more information about the services we provide click here https://www.harrowhealthcare.co.uk/our-services/cervical-screening-hpv-testing/