LONDON: Some 100,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the UK for the next 40 years by a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical, mouth, anus and genital cancer, British health officials said Tuesday.
Announcement of extension of a vaccination program to cover boys as well as girls, experts at Public Health England (PHE) said that the immunization plan would prevent about 64,000 cervical cancer and nearly 50,000 non-cervical cancer by 2058.
This would be 50 years after the introduction of the HPV vaccination program in the UK – which started in girls in 2008 – as people who were vaccinated as teenagers could otherwise start developing HPV-related cancers, PHE said in a declaration.
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus associated with more than 99 percent of the cervical cancers, as well as 90 percent of anal cancer, about 70 percent of vaginal and vulvar cancer, and more than 60 percent of penile cancer.
PHE said that from September this year boys aged 12 and 13 in the UK will be offered the shoots as part of a state health program.
When British girls started getting the HPV vaccine in 2008, studies have shown that infections with some major types of virus have decreased by 86 percent in 16 to 21 year olds in England.
A Scottish study also showed that the vaccine had reduced pre-cancer cervical disease in women by up to 71 percent.
Robin Weiss, professor of viral oncology at University College London, said the extension of the HPV program "should be a win-win situation".
"The HPV vaccine has had 10 years of success in protecting girls from acquiring cervical cancer as women," he said in an emailed comment. "It seems that … the vaccinated boys themselves will benefit from not having cancer of the penis, anus and a diminished risk of head and neck cancer."