Controversial international perspective on HPV prevention
Prof Richard Shaw - University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre, Liverpool, UK
What is the international perspective on HPV prevention?
The acceptance that HPV is a significant cause of head and neck cancer has been slow to feed into government policy on vaccination and it’s quite a controversial area. So in some countries they’ve spread the vaccination to boys and girls because, as you may be aware, it’s boys are predisposed to eventually developing HPV oropharynx cancer, not girls. In the UK we’ve got a programme of vaccination for girls which is very effective and is directed against preventing cervical cancer and we’re at the moment in the discussion, as an academic body, about whether extending the vaccination to boys is a worthwhile health benefit.
In other parts of the world the girl vaccination programme isn’t as successful and is patchy and, of course, in other parts of the world there is no vaccination programme. The problem in the third world in cervical cancer is that there’s a huge burden of disease, much of which is fatal, and there’s no vaccination programme and it’s worth highlighting that in any discussion.