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Could HPV Vaccine Reduce Anal Cancer Risk Beyond The Age Of 21?

Hey there Guys,

Today I came across a new study in the British Medical Journal that may have impact on reducing the risk of anal cancer in gay men.

While the title “Effect of the human papillomavirus (HPV) quadrivalent vaccine in a subgroup of women with cervical and vulvar disease: retrospective pooled analysis of trial data” does not sound immediately relevant to gay men it does bring forward a very interesting idea that may help reduce the incidence of anal cancers.

The potential connection between this study and anal cancer in gay men is the HPV or “human papillomavirus”. As mentioned in my previous posts about anal cancer and HPV vaccination,¬†we know that there is a strong connection between this virus and anal cancers. It is also understood that gay men vaccinated against HVP before the age of 21 have a reduced risk of developing anal cancers later in life.

Currently the jury has been out on whether vaccination beyond the age of 21 is of any value, the thought being that most people will already be infected with all strains of HPV in the vaccine after that age.

This study is interesting because it demonstrates that women who have developed HPV related disease, i.e.warts or cervical changes including cancer, still have significantly reduced chance of 2nd episodes of HPV related disease if they were vaccinated.

To take it back a step, what this means that even if women have developed HPV associated disease after vaccination, their chance of further and perhaps more severe disease was lower than if they had never been vaccinated.

To me this makes me wonder if this can be extended to the anal health of all gay men. Can it be postulated that even if a gay man is living with HPV infection, could vaccination reduce the chance of developing diseases like anal warts and anal cancer? Given the impact these diseases have I would be keen to see this reviewed.

So what does this mean in a nutshell?

As previously reported all gay men younger than 21 should strongly consider having the HPV vaccination. It has already been demonstrated to reduce rates of anal warts and cancers.

Even if you have had some from or HPV related disease such as anal warts or even anal cancer there is some evidence to suggest that having the HPV vaccine no matter what age you are could reduce the risk of further episodes and perhaps even severity.

I highly recommend you talk with your doctor about this.

What are your thoughts guys? Feel free to drop a comment in the box below.

Yours in good health.

Dr George

 

 

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