The Government has been urged to consider changing its policies over HPV vaccinations to stop the spread of mouth cancer.
MPs were reminded during the launch of Mouth Cancer Action Month at the House of Commons, with Peter Baker (pictured), campaign director of HPV Action, explaining that the current vaccination programme is flawed, vaccinating only girls.
‘We calculate that HPV is responsible for over 2,000 new cases of cancer in men each year in the UK, this includes over 1,400 cases of oral cancer,’ Peter said.
‘Even though the current vaccination programme for girls will protect some boys, it will only protect those who have sex with vaccinated women.
‘Many more will have sex with women who have not been vaccinated, whether in the UK or in other countries without a vaccination programme or where uptake levels of vaccination are poor.
‘Men who have sex with men are also completely unprotected by the current vaccination programme.
‘It cannot be right to withhold an effective health intervention from a group of people just on the grounds of their sex, HPV affects both sexes and both sexes should be equally protected.
‘The Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI) began a review of whether boys should be vaccinated in 2013.
‘It originally planned to report in 2015 but a decision has been delayed until 2017 and it’s quite probable that we won’t hear the final outcome until 2018.
‘If this estimate is right, it would mean that millions more boys will have missed out on the vaccination and remain dangerously unprotected.
‘It’s HPV Action’s view that the decision-making process must be accelerated and a decision made in 2016.’