Apr 13, 2015
By Jane Brown
There is a push to vaccinate boys against the virus that causes cervical cancer in women. A new study suggests the move could help stave off a growing threat of throat tumours in men and save Canada’s healthcare system millions of dollars a year.
One of the study’s authors says throat cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) afflict about three times as many men as women and their total numbers could overtake those of cervical cancers within a decade.
Doctor Lillian Siu is an oncologist at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She says the incidence of the disease has been growing among men, but she says the reason it affects males more than females is unclear.
Her study is published in the journal Cancer and projects a savings to the healthcare system of between $8-million and $28-million annually by making the vaccine freely available to boys.
Right now, the vaccine is covered by provincial health plans across the country for girls only.