Doctors Urge HPV Vaccine for Boys

Nov 23, 2010
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
Safe for boys, too? (Photo: Reuters Pictures).

A group of women doctors in Canada is urging  public health officials there to provide the HPV vaccine to boys, just as they do for girls.

HPV (the human papillomavirus) causes up to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Recent years have seen a huge push to administer the vaccine to girls.

The Canadian doctors' group says that widespread vaccination among boys can cut down the spread of the disease to girls.

But that's not the only reason for the push. Research has shown that the virus may cause just as many cancer cases in men. While cervical cancer afflicts women exclusively, HPV can cause anal, penile and oral cancers in men.

A U.S. government panel is expected to vote soon on whether the vaccine should be administered to American boys. Critics have balked at any widespread administration that targets anal-cancer risk groups (gay and bisexual men), or boys as young as 9. 

Doubters also say mass vaccinations to protect a small group from an estimated 5,000 cases of HPV-related cancers per year is overkill.

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