DAK urges use of HPV vaccine to prevent cancers

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today urged parents to get their children vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) that would prevent several types of cancers.

With cancer cases on rise in Jammu and Kashmir, President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said we have an amazing opportunity to prevent certain types of cancers in future generations through HPV vaccination.

“HPV infection is known to cause almost all cases of cervical cancer and is also related to several other anogenital cancers. About 70 to 80 percent of oropharyngeal cancers, which mostly occur in men, are linked to HPV infection,” Dak said in a statement issued here.

In a study published in “JAMA Oncology”, it was found that people who were detected to have oral HPV had a sevenfold increase in the risk of subsequent head and neck cancer, it said.

“Use of HPV vaccine would prevent a lot of these cancers and save lives. In Australia, where the vaccine is mandatory there is a huge drop in cancer cases. CDC recommends that both boys and girls should get two doses of vaccine, at least six months apart, when they are 11 or 12 years of age,” the statement added.

“For adults who have not been vaccinated, they can still be given the vaccine up until age 26. You need to get the vaccine, before you are exposed to the virus,” the medico body said.

Importantly, the WHO recommends that routine HPV vaccination should be included in national immunization programmes.

Despite recommendations, HPV vaccine is not offered to children putting them at risk of preventable cancers, DAK said.

“There is an urgent necessity to educate people and make healthcare providers aware about the importance of vaccine. Around 630 million people worldwide are infected with HPV and approximately 6 million people being infected each year. Of the 12.7 million new cancer cases in 2008 worldwide, 610,000 were attributed to HPV infection,” the statement added.

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