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Local GPs welcome cancer prevention jab for boys

GPs in Kingston are welcoming the introduction of the cancer preventing HPV vaccine that will be available to boys aged 12 to 13 in local schools from September.

GPs in Kingston are welcoming the introduction of the cancer preventing HPV vaccine that will be available to boys aged 12 to 13 in local schools from September.

In men, many cancers of the mouth, throat, genitals and bottom are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It can also cause warts on the genitals, skin, voice box and vocal cords (laryngeal papillomas) and verrucas.

Among girls, HPV is also responsible for the majority of cervical cancers. In the UK, girls, aged 12 to 13 have been offered the HPV vaccine since 2008 – resulting in a reduction in the number of HPV-related infections.

Nationally, the number of people with mouth and throat cancer caused by HPV is increasing. However, it is estimated that through vaccination the number of people developing these cancers will reduce in the future.

Public Health England estimates that by offering the vaccine to boys and girls, by 2058 it will prevent more than 114,000 people getting cancer. This includes 64,000 cases of cervical cancer and 29,000 cancers in men.

HPV infections can be spread by skin-to-skin contact and are usually found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. The HPV vaccine works best if boys and girls receive it before they become sexually active.

In Kingston, the vaccine will be available to boys aged 12 and 13 in all secondary schools from the start of the autumn school term.

Dr Atin Goel, Cancer Clinical Lead for NHS Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group and a local GP, said:

“There is nothing better for health than prevention, so I welcome the introduction of the HPV vaccination being extended to boys from September.  I encourage all parents of eligible boys and girls to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine.

"In time, this will lead to a significant reduction in cancers of the anus, penis and mouth and throat. It's important not to delay vaccination, as the vaccine may be less effective as boys get older.”

Councillor Diane White, Kingston Council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for children’s health, said:

“The health of children in our borough is of paramount importance and it’s wonderful to see this measure being brought in for young boys after being successfully adopted for girls.

“This is an important step in reducing the risk of cancer in Kingston and we are fully committed to supporting residents in lowering the chance of developing the disease.”