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Mass HPV vaccination protects unvaccinated men from pharyngeal cancer
The prevalence of papillomavirus infection of the mouth and pharynx among men who have not been vaccinated against it has decreased by 37% in the United States. Scientists believe that this was due to the emergence of population immunity due to the massive vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
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The prevalence of papillomavirus infection of the mouth and pharynx among men who have not been vaccinated against it has decreased by 37% in the United States. Scientists believe that this was due to the emergence of population immunity due to the massive vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV). The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
There are over 100 different types of HPV. Available vaccines protect only against the most harmful ones. Vaccination against dangerous types of HPV in the United States has been officially recommended for women since 2006, and for men since 2011.
It is known that most of the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer can also provoke tumors of the oral cavity and pharynx, however, relatively little research has been devoted to vaccine prevention of these diseases. Anil Chaturvedi of the National Cancer Institute in the United States and colleagues studied surveys of the prevalence of HPV infection over the years following the introduction of HPV vaccination.
We looked at data from 14,000 adults from 2009 to 2016. During this time, vaccination coverage increased from zero to 5.8% for men and from 7.3% to 15.1% for women. In parallel, the prevalence of HPV types that vaccines work against among unvaccinated adult males fell from 2.7% to 1.6%, a 37% decrease.
According to scientists, unvaccinated men are protected by population immunity. They write:
"Population immunity is probably starting to emerge as a result of increased vaccination coverage for women in the United States."
Among the women included in the study, scientists could not find a similar relationship.
Currently, HPV is considered the most common sexually transmitted infection: 80% of the sexually active population are infected with the virus during their lifetime. HPV is dangerous for the development of oncological diseases of the reproductive organs in men and women, cancer of the anal canal and oropharynx. The main method of protection against HPV-associated diseases is vaccination. Globally, HPV vaccination has been carried out since 2006, and today it is included in the national vaccination schedules of 96 countries. Since 2011, the US has also recommended vaccination for boys. The most effective vaccine is given to a teenager before the first encounter with the virus (i.e. before sexual activity).
There is a wealth of data on the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in preventing cervical cancer, which is common in women. In Russia, almost 17,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year for the first time, and a third of them die. And the HPV vaccine is sometimes even called the “cancer vaccine”. However, this virus is not safe for men: HPV can cause cancer of the oropharynx, cancer of the penis, head and neck.
According to the head. Department of Microsurgery, Moscow Oncological Institute P. A. Herzen - branch of the Federal State Budgetary Institution "National Medical Research Center of Radiology" of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, MD Andrey Polyakov, oropharyngeal cancer is a serious problem for our country. This disease disables the younger generation, the reproductive and working population. And by 2030, it can reach the first positions in terms of incidence. At the same time, in 70% of sick Russians, oropharyngeal cancer is diagnosed at late stages (III and IV) - today.
“Therefore, the only hope of oncologists is effective vaccination against the cause - HPV. At the same time, not only adolescent girls, but also boys need to be vaccinated against HPV. In men, in general, the immune response to infection is lower and there is no sustained natural immunization after infection. Men are more likely to be reinfected. The inclusion of boys and men in national vaccination programs has a beneficial effect on reducing the number of cases of illness in women due to the nature of the spread of the virus, "Polyakov commented on the study of American scientists.
At the same time, according to him, as the experience of other countries shows, a gender-neutral approach (vaccination of both women and men) avoids the massive spread of the virus and HPV-associated cancers associated with it.
In Russia, HPV vaccination is not yet included in the National Vaccination Schedule and is carried out only within the framework of regional vaccination programs. At the same time, the cost of the vaccine is high and, taking into account the need for two revaccinations, the immunoprophylaxis of the average Russian exceeds three minimum wages.
“We already have targeted regional screening and vaccination programs, there are vaccines registered in Russia that are sold in the public domain, but this is not enough to turn the tide,” said an expert at the CMD Center for Molecular Diagnostics at the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, head of the scientific group for the development of new diagnostic methods human papillomavirus infections Olga Shipulina. “The most painful issue is the issue of price: at the first stage, the state's costs will be significant, funds, and considerable, need to be invested now, and the economic effect will manifest itself only in ten years”.