HPV Vaccination 'Should Be Given To Boys'

Thousands of lives could be saved in Britain each year if boys are given the same vaccination that protects girls from developing cervical cancer.

Campaigners say the jab - which 12 and 13-year-old girls get to immunise them against Human Papilloma Virus - would be "hugely beneficial" to boys as well.

HPV Action say the virus - which can be sexually transmitted - is responsible for 5% of all cancers worldwide.

"We have an incredible opportunity here to fight cancer with a simple jab," said the charity's spokesman Peter Baker.

"Most ways of fighting cancer involve losing weight or exercising more or changing lifestyles radically. This involves a simple vaccination which costs £45."

It is estimated that vaccinating 367,000 boys aged 12 each year would cost £24m.

Mr Baker added: "We should be investing more in this programme because further down the health chain it costs a colossal amount of money to treat cancer."

HPV has been linked to many cancers including throat, penile and anal.

Tristan Almada helped found the charity after his mother Paulette died from a cancer linked to HPV in 2010.

"We are effectively discriminating against half the population. Canada, Australia and the United States all vaccinate boys and girls. Why is Britain different?"

The actor Michael Douglas last year said his own throat cancer had been caused by HPV.

A Department of Health spokesman said they have started a review.

He said: "More than 80% of girls are now vaccinated against HPV, however we recognise that the current vaccination programme does not offer protection against HPV-related cancers to gay men, which is why the JCVI has set up a sub-committee to assess whether the programme should be extended to adolescent boys, men who have sex with men, or both."

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