The CDC (Center for Disease Control) Advisory committee voted today to recommend that males ages 11-21 be vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV), which is blamed for genital warts, several cancers in women and men including cervical, anal, penile, and increasing incidence of throat cancer. (Boys can receive the vaccine as early as age 9). HPV is the #1 sexually transmitted disease in the nation. The HPV vaccine has been approved for males since 2009. Much of the debate relates to whether or not it would be cost effective to vaccinate boys against HPV. The vaccine is given within a 6-month period in 3 doses, costing approximately $120 each. It is estimated that 20 million Americans are affected with HPV and approximately 7,000 men develop HPV-related cancers yearly.
There is growing evidence that HPV is responsible for a recent increase in head and neck cancer. A study this month showed approximately 70% of all oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV.
A new study suggests HPV may be linked to cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston studied 2,450 women ages 20-59 from 2003-2006 and found that 1,141 women tested positive for HPV.
Of them, 573 had cancer-associated HPV types. The HPV vaccine may also help prevent heart disease.
The committee took into account many new statistics before overturning their decision. They have decided to recommend the HPV vaccine for males due to the increase in HPV related head and neck cancers and showing the virus was responsible for more than 80% of anal cancers. Also, a study this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that the percentage of throat cancers caused by HPV rose from 16% in 1980s to 72% during 2000-2004.
If you are still not convinced, read this:
Dr. Robert Haddad, chief of Center for Head and Neck Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute said, “these HPV-related cancers have become an epidemic, and we don’t understand why.” The majority of the throat cancers he treats, he said, is HPV-related – transmitted via oral sex – rather than because of smoking or alcohol abuse and is twice as common in men as women. He and other specialists believe the HPV vaccine can reduce incidence of these cancers. The reason physicians recommend starting vaccine administration at age 11 or 12 is because they have stronger immune responses to the vaccine than older teens or young adults. Some argue that the cost of vaccinating all boys would be cost prohibitive but as Dr. Michael Marcy from University of Southern California states, “the money needed to vaccinate 11 and 12-year-old boys would pay for only a few hours of the war in Afghanistan while potentially saving thousands of lives in the United States.”
While this news might come as a shocker to some, the bottom line is that we are all concerned with our overall well-being. Now that research shows that HPV vaccinations in boys is more beneficial than not, does this change your opinion on it? Would you eleect to have your son vaccinated after reading this blog post? We are curious to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave us a comment, or Retweet this article. Stop by our Facebook Page, as well as our website.