08 August 2019
HPV is a virus which has many forms and can cause many issues. Some types can cause warts, while other forms can cause cancer. Many people have heard of cervical cancer, which affects women. Since 2008, we have been giving girls aged 12 - 13 (year 8) a vaccination against HPV (type 6, 11, 16, 18). The impact of this in the last 10 years has been dramatic, significantly reducing the rates of abnormal/pre-cancerous cells in women on smear testing. The rates of cervical cancer are going down thanks to a comprehensive vaccination programme.
HPV doesn’t only cause cervical cancer, it can be a cause of vaginal cancer, vulval cancer, anal cancer, cancer of the penis and some cancers of the head and neck. In the head and neck the rate of cancer of the tonsil and tongue base are increasing at a worrying rate. What is equally concerning is that the HPV related to head and neck cancers are affecting younger people, and disproportionately affecting men. It is estimated that in the next 10 years the number of HPV related head and neck cancers will be higher than those for cervical cancer.
So what can you do? Vaccinate against HPV. This September the government have finally agreed to start vaccinating boys as well as girls from the age of 12 - 13. But importantly there is a benefit to protect children who are older who have not yet had sexual contact. These children are being missed but could benefit from a course of vaccination, reducing their risk.
There are even studies which show a benefit to vaccination for people up to the age of 44 who have had sexual contact. They need a longer course of vaccination, but still have a potential benefit.
Now is the time to act and consider if you or your child could benefit from vaccination. Come in and have a chat with Consultant ENT Surgeon Mr Karan Kapoor, or with our private GPs, Dr Vohra and Dr Thompson. At Spire Gatwick Park Hospital we can offer you counselling and vaccination.
If you wish to book a consultation with Mr Karan Kapoor, please call us on 01293 778 906 to find out more.