WOKING dentists are marking Mouth Cancer Action Month in November by supporting a campaign for boys to receive the HPV vaccine.
Currently only girls aged 12-13 receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination through a school-based programme and it is highly effective in the prevention of cervical cancer. But boys are also at serious risk as HPV is one of the leading causes of mouth, penile and anal cancer.
The dentists from Goldsworth Road Dental Centre will call on the support of Woking MP Jonathan Lord to fight for a gender neutral vaccination policy to help cut the 2,000 deaths a year in the UK caused by mouth cancer. Mouth cancer claims more lives per year than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
Kate Pritchard, principal dentist at Goldsworth Road Dental Centre, said: “There is overwhelming support for vaccinating boys from clinicians and organisations working in the fields of oral health, cancer, sexual health, public health and men’s health, and we urge the government to make a decision on gender-neutral HPV vaccinations as soon as possible.”
A decision on whether to vaccinate boys is expected to be made by the government’s vaccination advisory committee (JCVI) in 2017 at the earliest. Even if the right decision is made, implementation of the boys’ programme might not begin until 2020. Goldsworth Road Dental Centre’s online petition is available at https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-hpv-vaccinations-for-boys-in-britain. Members of the Woking community can also sign a paper petition at the practice at 96 Goldsworth Road. For details, please call 0844 576 9956 or 01483 495 303.