‘Boys should get cervical cancer vaccine’

Herald Sun (Aust) September 07, 2009

THE vaccine that is expected to cut rates of cervical cancer in Australian women should be given to young men as well, says Professor Ian Frazer. Prof Frazer headed the development of Gardasil, which is now given to Australian schoolgirls to protect against strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) known to cause cervical cancer. However, HPV infections in men are also known to cause a range of anogenital cancers, as well as cancers of the mouth and throat.

“One of the major issues is the prevention of 10 per cent of HPV-associated cancers that are in men and, obviously, boys are entitled to be protected like girls are,” Prof Frazer said. “Men are also the vector that pass the virus to the woman and so if you immunise men then you reduce burden of viral disease in the community … for the women as well.” Tests on the vaccine show it induces the same protective response in men as in women, though regulators in some countries including the USA and Canada are yet to approve its use in both sexes.