What this really means is that we now understand what is causing cancer in these regions. It’s very exciting, because if we understand what causes a cancer, we can begin to prevent it.
According to Health Canada, as many as 75% of sexually active men and women will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime, with the highest rate found in people under 25. What
we don’t fully understand is why some people clear the infection and never get cancer while others have persistent infections, which leads to abnormalities. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV- associated cancer worldwide, so the majority of HPV research has
been focused on understanding the role of HPV and cervical disease.
Therefore the first trials involved girls and women. As a result, when the
vaccine was introduced in 2006 in Canada, it was launched as an immunization programme for school aged girls. However, as research continued, much more is now known about the role of HPV in causing cancers and disease in males. Therefore in 2012, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization reviewed its’ recommendations and now recommends the HPV vaccine not only for girls and women but also for boys and
men. It is so exciting that we now have a vaccine that will reduce the risk of cancers in
both sexes. How do we know this? In my next blog, I will take a look at some of the published
research findings, which show how effective vaccination really is!