North East dentist backs ‘Jabs for Boys’ campaign amid rising tide of oral cancer cases in men

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A dentist from the North East has backed the ‘Jabs for Boys’ campaign amid a rising tide of oral cancer cases diagnosed in young men. Campaigners are calling on the government to roll out the HPV vaccination programme to both sexes in a bid to reduce the risk of oral cancer.

Currently, teenage girls are offered the HPV vaccine, as it protects against certain strains of HPV, which are linked to cervical cancer. However, dentist Dr Ken Harris, is keen for the government to consider including boys in the scheme in a bid to reduce the risk of cases of oral cancer linked to the human papilloma virus.

The award-winning dentist, from Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry in Sunderland, said that cases linked to HPV are becoming more commonplace and offering the vaccination to boys could help to lower the level of oral cancer cases found in young men.

The HPV programme has been in place for girls since 2008, but boys are not entitled to the vaccine, despite the fact that the virus is linked to approximately 2,000 cancer deaths in men per year.

Dr Harris said that 35 years ago he would never come across cases of oral cancer, but the situation has changed and there has been a significant increase in the number of cases diagnosed in the UK. Although most patients are aged over 50, cases identified in younger men are becoming more commonplace and exposure to the HPV through sexual contact could provide an explanation.

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