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HPV vaccination not only protects against cervical cancer

Publication date: 16 May 2017
Modificationdate: 18 May 2017

HPV vaccination against cervical cancer also appears to protect against other forms of cancer that can be caused by HPV. These are cancers that increasingly occur in men, such as cancer of the penis, anus, mouth and pharynx. Therefore, at the Minister's request, the Dutch Health Council is looking at whether the advice on vaccination should be adjusted.

To support the Health Council in this, RIVM has collected and organised relevant information from the Netherlands and abroad, such as information on how often HPV infections and HPV-related diseases occur in girls/women and boys/men and on the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.

HPV

Many (young) sexually active women and men are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are various types of HPV: types with a high risk of developing cancer and types with a low risk. Types with a high risk cause cervical cancer but also other forms of cancer that increasingly occur in men.
Since 2010, 12-year-old girls have been vaccinated through the National Immunisation Programme to prevent cervical cancer. We now know that this vaccine not only protects against cervical cancer but also against cancer of the penis, anus, vagina and vulva. There are also indications that it protects against cancer of the mouth and pharynx.

Three vaccines

There are three vaccines against HPV on the market that are suitable for both women and men. In the Netherlands, the vaccine that protects against the two most commonly occurring types of the HPV virus (HPV types 16 and 18) is given. The other two vaccines protect against multiple types of the HPV virus. Thanks to the current immunisation programme, it is estimated that annually 350 fewer women will get cervical cancer and 100 fewer women will die from this form of cancer.

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