HPV vaccine increasingly recommended for boys too
Published Friday, November 11, 2011 4:05PM EST
A vaccine that's used to prevent cervical cancer in girls is now suggested for stopping some cancers in boys.
The United States now recommends that boys as young as nine years old receive the Human Papaloma Virus vaccine to help prevent the mouth and throat cancers the virus can cause.
"This is a vaccine that can prevent cancer; it's one of the first ones that's going to be able to do that," said Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, associate professor with the University of Massachusetts medical school.
In Canada, the vaccine is approved for both boys and girls, but in Ontario only Grade 8 girls can get it for free.
"Cervical cancer is a killer; 500 women die a year and the sad thing is it affects a lot of young women in the prime of their lives," said Michelle Parks with Ottawa Public Health. "If they can get one dose in Grade 8 we will complete it in Grade 9 . . . (there's a) narrow range from province, so can't provide it outside that age range."
Experts say early vaccination is better because it gives the body time to build up antibodies before teens become sexually active.
In Canada, the vaccine for boys still has to be approved by a special advisory committee.
It now costs $550 for boys to get the necessary three doses – a fee that many in the Canadian medical community see being covered by the province soon.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's health reporter Kate Eggins