By 2020, The Most Common HPV-Related Cancer Will Affect Men

While currently recommended for both boys and girls, the HPV vaccine was initially marketed — and is still thought of — as a way to protect young women and girls from cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer. Boys, it’s been commonly thought, should be vaccinated primarily to benefit herd immunity and any future female partners.

But a new analysis from researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto, Canada, points out that boys who get the vaccine receive important protection as well, not only against genital warts, but against HPV strains that cause oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer.

“We believe this study is important because HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer has increased significantly in incidence, especially in developed countries,” said Dr. Donna Graham, one of the study’s co-authors, in a press release. “It is projected that by 2020, HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer will become the most common HPV-related cancer in the US, surpassing cervical cancer.”

In addition to saving young men from preventable cancer, the study suggests the vaccine could save North American countries significant amounts of money. Currently, treatment for oral cancer one year after diagnosis costs $25,697 in Canadian dollars ($21,071 USD), the researchers say, while in the U.S., the same level of care would cost $79,151 for men with private insurance and $59,404 for those on Medicaid.

To see how those numbers would change if more boys got the HPV vaccine, Graham and team applied a preliminary cost-effectiveness analysis on a theoretical cohort of 192,940 12-year-old boys, estimating what would happen if some boys got HPV-related cancer and required lifetime treatment while others got the vaccine. The statistical model suggested that HPV vaccinations could potentially save between CA$8 million and CA$28 million (approximately $6.5 million to $22.9 million USD) in costs — far —> Read More