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Evesham dentists slam HPV vaccination decision

by Evesham Dental, on 8th September 2017 | Comments Off on Evesham dentists slam HPV vaccination decision

Last Updated on 12th November 2018

Dentists – including those at Evesham Dental Health Team in Worcestershire – have slammed a recent decision not to vaccinate boys against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

A survey of dentists and GPs carried out by the campaign group HPV Action revealed that 95 per cent believe the national HPV vaccination programme should cover both boys and girls. In July, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) ignored advice from leading health experts to deny boys the vaccine.

Peter Baker, HPV Action Campaign Director, said: “It is astonishing that the Government’s vaccination advisory committee has ignored advice from patient organisations, doctors treating men with HPV-related cancers, public health experts and those whose lives have been devastated by HPV.

“The decision not to vaccinate boys is about saving money not public health or equity. HPV Action will continue to make the case for a national vaccination programme that protects men and women equally and will be calling on ministers to make the right decision if the JCVI continues along its current path. There may also be grounds for a legal challenge on the grounds that a decision to leave boys and men at risk breaches equality law.”

It is estimated that vaccinating boys would cost £20-22m a year at most – a figure that is dwarfed by the cost of treating HPV-related cancers and warts. The cost of treating anogenital warts alone in the UK is an estimated £58.44 million a year; the secondary care costs of treating HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer are likely to exceed £21 million a year. Another £7 million is spent on treating men with anal cancer.

Leading oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation believes the decision, which has been under consideration since 2013, will lead to many thousands of lives being lost to HPV-related cancers, which the introduction of the vaccination would have protected against.

Under the current programme almost 400,000 boys go unvaccinated every year, which leaves them at risk of developing HPV-related cancers, many of which are on the increase. HPV cancers represent 5% of all cancers. They are entirely preventable.

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, discussed the appalling ruling: “This decision has been an incredibly long time coming and the outcome is one which is a completely unjust, unfair and discriminatory decision will cost lives.

“HPV is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer; without the vaccination programme we will continue to see cases rise when they could be completely prevented, it is a very, very sad decision which we will veraciously campaign to reverse.

“This decision is dangerously discriminatory and unfair and one which will leave millions of boys and men unprotected from the biggest sexually transmitted infection in the world.

Statistics from Cancer Research UK show the number of people diagnosed with mouth cancer has soared by a third in Britain. Much of this increase can be attributed to HPV infections and its transmission to the mouth through oral sex.

Every year, more than 7,000 Brits are diagnosed with mouth cancer, with the disease claiming in excess of 2,000 lives – more than testicular and cervical cancer combined.

It is because of these statistics that the dentists at Evesham Dental Health Team offer free mouth cancer screening throughout the year to people from across Evesham, Pershore, Stratford and Worcester. You do not have to be a patient to benefit from the free screening.

Contact our Evesham dental practice in Broadway Road for more information or to book an appointment.

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