June 25, 2019 - 17:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Vaccinating schoolboys against human papillomavirus (HPV) may cut rates of cancers related to the virus in the long term, new research suggests, according to the BBC.
HPV is a sexually-transmitted infection and some types are linked to cancer.
Vaccination of girls has already been credited with reducing cervical cancer in women, but researchers believe cancers among men may also fall.
A two-year study of 235 patients in Scotland with head and neck cancer found HPV was present in 60% of cases.
A report in April said a vaccine for girls had nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer since an immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago.
The new report's co-author Kevin Pollock, of Glasgow Caledonian University, said extending the vaccination to boys could help reduce rates of head and neck cancer which has been increasing over the last 25 years, particularly among men.
In 1994, there were 100 cases in Scotland, but by 2015 this had more than tripled to 350.
Dr Pollock said alcohol and smoking had been linked to these cancers but added that a change in sexual behaviour could also have had an impact.
He welcomed Scottish government plans to extend the school HPV vaccination programme to cover boys as well as girls.
"Our latest data shows that 78% of people with head and neck cancers were men and that HPV was present in 60% of the cancers," he said.
"This means the vaccine may reduce some of these cancers in the long term in Scotland.
"Not only that, but when we looked at the deprivation status of these cases - much like cervical cancer - head and neck cancers are disproportionately experienced by more deprived individuals."