Overview of Men’s Health in the UK
Over the years it has been a constant narrative that men do not look after themselves. Fortunately, women have had the benefit of breast cancer screening since 1987 when women were first invited to attend for screening. It is usually within 3 years of their 50th birthday. This facility has never been offered to men for Prostate Cancer during this period of 33 years. In 1998 as part of a campaign for men’s PSA test our group attended their doctor to ask for the test. Most were turned away but my doctor knowing my reasons gave me the test making clear that he would have to indicate that I had a possibility of having contracted the disease. It came back all clear.
In around 2,000 I was invited onto Women’s Hour to discuss Men’s Health – I was the only male present in the group. In only a short time the discussion became punctuated with jokes about men’s health and the women clearly found it amusing. I made my displeasure very clear indicating that I had come on the show to discuss Men’s Health in an adult way and that I expected them to do the same. They responded immediately and grew up. As I left via the switchboard the operator stated her support for what I had said.
The following information outlines the general resistance to offering men and boys any form of enhanced health care to that enjoyed by women.
Please read each of these articles to understand why men’s health takes a back seat. The Government appears quite happy to allow men and boys to languish by neglecting to bring their health issues to the same level as that enjoyed by women. We do not wish to see a reduction of support given to women, rather MWWT wishes to see Men’s Health taken more seriously and to remove all of these excuses for doing nothing.
Stephen Fitzgerald – Chairman MWWT
Men’s Health Forum
Statistics on mental health and men. Compiled by the Men’s Health Forum, June 2016. Update September 2017.
Just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 (Reference: ONS)
12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women – Health and Social Care Information Centre)
Men are more likely to use (and die from) illegal drugs
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women. Only 36% of referrals to IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) are men.
While women are more likely to be diagnosed with common mental disorders, there are important indicators of widespread mental distress in men.
- The prevalence of psychotic illness is believed to be low, around 0.4% in the population as a whole, and is roughly equally distributed between men and women (Reference: K. Saddler and P. Bebbington (2009), ‘Psychosis’, in Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey) although the onset of some particular forms of psychosis seems to occur earlier in the lifespan in men (References: Journal of Psychiatry, D. Castle)
- One adult in six (17.0%) has a common mental disorder (e.g. depression, anxiety, phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder). One woman in five has CMD (20.7%) compared with about one man in eight (13.2%). (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014, Executive summary: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey)
There is considerable debate about the true level of common mental health disorders in men and whether larger numbers of men than women may be undiagnosed. In a 2016 survey by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum, the majority of men said that they would take time off work to get medical help for physical symptoms such as blood in stools or urine, unexpected lumps or chest pain, yet fewer than one in five said they would do the same for anxiety (19%) or feeling low (15%). The Men’s Health Forum has argued that the following might provide a better picture of the state of men’s mental health than the number of clinical diagnoses:
- Over three quarters of people who kill themselves are men (Reference: ONS).
- Men report significantly lower life satisfaction than women in the Government’s national well-being survey – with those aged 45 to 59 reporting the lowest levels of life satisfaction (Reference: ONS)
- 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men (Reference: University of York).
- 87% of rough sleepers are men (Reference: Crisis).
- Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women) (Reference: HSCIC).
- Men are three times as likely to report frequent drug use than women (4.2% and 1.4% respectively) and more than two thirds of drug-related deaths occur in men (Reference: Information Centre).
- Men make up 95% of the prison population (Reference: House of Commons Library). 72% of male prisoners suffer from two or more mental disorders (Reference: Social Exclusion Unit).
- Men are nearly 50% more likely than women to be detained and treated compulsorily as psychiatric inpatients (Reference: Information Centre).
- Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community (References: R. Boreham and D. Pevalin).
- Men commit 86% of violent crime (and are twice as likely to be victims of violent crime) (Reference: ONS).
- Boys are around three times more likely to receive a permanent or fixed period exclusion than girls (Reference: Gov.uk).
- Boys are performing less well than girls at all levels of education. In 2013 only 55.6% of boys achieved 5 or more grade A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics, compared to 65.7% of girls (Reference: Department for Education).
The Men’s Health Forum suggests that these statistics indicate that male emotional and psychological distress may sometimes emerge in ways that do not fit comfortably within conventional approaches to diagnosis. They also show that men may be more likely to lack some of the known precursors of good mental health, such as a positive engagement with education or the emotional support of friends and family.
A picture begins to emerge of a potentially sizeable group of men who cope less well than they might:
- These men may fail to recognise or act on warning signs, and may be unable or unwilling to seek help from support services.
- At the further end of the spectrum they may rely on unwise, unsustainable self-management strategies that are damaging not only to themselves but also to those around them.
- Such a picture would broadly parallel what is already known about men’s poorer physical health.
Although personality disorders are not generally considered to be a form of mental illness in themselves, they can be highly disabling and men are believed to be more likely to suffer from them (5.4% of men compared to 3.4% of women) (Reference: Rethink Personality disorders factsheet).
People with personality disorders are more likely than the general population to come into contact with mental health services (Reference: S. Ullrich) are known to be at increased risk of substance misuse, anti-social behaviour and suicide (References: Foresight, Rethink. Personality disorders factsheet).
On average, 191,000 men a year report stress, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work – an average of 1.2% of men in work over a 12 months period. This compares to an average of 261,000 women over the same period – 1.8% of those in work. (Source: HSE/Labour Force Survey).
The peak age group for these conditions is 45-54 – significantly higher than all other age groups.
In a 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum presents a picture of at least one in ten of the male workforce as significantly stressed:
- 9% described themselves as severely or extremely stressed
- 8% strongly agreed that “Overwork and stress caused by a need to achieve on the job or in school affects or hurts my life”
- 34% agreed or strongly agreed that they were “constantly feeling stressed or under pressure” and 11% strongly agreed.
- 12% of men said that the last time they were prompted to take time off work to see a GP was because they were “constantly feeling stressed or under pressure” and 11% because of “Prolonged feelings of sadness”.
Use of Services
Men are significantly less likely to access psychological therapies than women. During the first 3 quarters of 2015, men were only 36% of those accessing psychological therapies. (Reference: IAPT quarterly data file)
There is no significant difference in recovery rate in response to IAPT between men and women. (Roughly the same number of men complete a course of therapy as begin it.)
In a 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum:
- 34% would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for mental health concern such as anxiety or depression compared to 13% for a physical injury. (Amongst men with mental health concerns, 46% are embarrassed or ashamed).
- 38% would be concerned that their employer would think badly of them if they took time off work for a mental health concern – compared to 26% for a physical injury. (Amongst men with mental health concerns, 52% are concerned.)
A survey conducted by YouGov for the Mental Health Foundation (2016) found that:
- 28% of men had not sought medical help for the last mental health problem they experienced compared to 19% of women.
- A third of women (33%) who disclosed a mental health problem to a friend or loved one did so within a month, compared to only a quarter of men (25%).
- Over a third of men (35%) waited more than 2 years or have never disclosed a mental health problem to a friend or family member, compared to a quarter of women (25%).
Although suicide is not one of the main causes of death in men overall, it is the single most common cause of death in men under 45 (References: Department of Health).
- In 2016 there were 5,668 suicides in Great Britain. Of the total number of suicides, 76% were males and 24% were females. (Reference: ONS)
- The age-standardised suicide rates in 2016 were 15.7 deaths per 100,000 population for males (down from 16.2) and 4.8 deaths per 100,000 population for females (down from 5.3).
- Suicides rates have been consistently lower in females than in males over the past three decades (Reference: ONS).
- The suicide rate was highest in middle-aged men (40 to 44-year old age groups). The suicide rate for this group was 23.7 deaths per 100,000 population (Reference: ONS).
- The risk of suicide also varies by occupation. Men working in ‘elementary occupations’ have the highest risk of suicide – 44% higher than the national average – and account for 19% of male suicides. Males working in skilled trade occupations had the second-highest risk among the major occupational groups – and account for 29% of all male suicides. The lowest risk is among managers, directors and senior officials. In this group the risk of suicide was around 50% less than the national average. (Reference: ONS).
Suicide – the Samaritans Report
A review by the Samaritans in 2012 (Men, Suicide and Society) emphasised that middle-aged men in lower socio-economic groups are at particularly high risk of suicide. They pointed to the interaction of complex factors such as unemployment and economic hardship, lack of close social and family relationships, the influence of a historical culture of masculinity, personal crises such as divorce, as well as a general ‘dip’ in subjective well-being among people in their mid-years, compared with both younger and older people.
The report’s findings were split into 6 key themes:
- Personality traits – some traits can interact with factors such as deprivation, unemployment, social disconnection and triggering events, such as relationship breakdown or job loss, to increase the risk of suicide.
- Masculinity – more than women, men respond to stress by taking risks, like misusing alcohol and drugs.
- Relationship breakdowns – marriage breakdown is more likely to lead men, rather than women, to suicide.
- Challenges of mid-life – people currently in mid-life are experiencing more mental health problems and unhappiness compared to younger and older people.
- Emotional illiteracy – men are much less likely than women to have a positive view of counselling or therapy, and when they do use these services, it is at the point of crisis.
- Socio-economic factors – unemployed people are 2-3 times more likely to die by suicide than those in work and suicide increases during economic recession.
Suicide in disadvantaged men in their middle years is a health and social inequality issue. Men living in these circumstances are up to 10 times more at risk of suicide than those living in the most advantaged conditions.
Suicide – Historical Overview
- Male suicide rates increased in the 1980s, and peaked at 21.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 1988. (Reference: ONS).
- Suicide rates tended to decrease between 1988 and 2010, though there were some annual rises (for example, higher rates were seen in 1998 and 1999). The rate increased significantly between 2010 and 2011 (from 17.0 to 18.2 deaths per 100,000 population) resulting in the highest male suicide rate since 2002 (Reference: ONS).
Prostate Cancer UK calls for Screening Programme and More Research
Over the last year, prostate cancer has grabbed the attention of the media, the nation and the UK government. We’re gathering the tools for a screening programme – and we have a golden opportunity to push through our plans to stop prostate cancer killing men, explains Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive, Angela Culhane
Prostate cancer research has been underfunded for too long. In the UK, one man dies from the disease every 45 minutes, and that’s not simply because men don’t know when they’re at risk. Tests to diagnose the disease early are not accurate enough and the treatments currently available aren’t always effective for each man’s cancer.
In 2018, Prostate Cancer UK shone a spotlight on the shocking statistic that deaths from prostate cancer now outnumber those from breast cancer, making it the third biggest cancer killer in the UK for the first time.
The story dominated the news across media channels and, thanks to the public response, has kept prostate cancer on the agenda. Shortly after, TV personalities Stephen Fry and Bill Turnbull spoke about being diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer, helping to raise awareness of the disease even further. This heightened awareness has made prostate cancer a problem that society can no longer ignore.
Long-term investment in research can turn the tide
Prostate Cancer UK was formed as a charity not only to support men living with the disease but also to tackle the unjust lack of research into stopping prostate cancer being a killer. In 1998, the government spent just £47,000 on prostate cancer research. Back then, relatively little was known about the disease, but now our understanding is approaching the point where we can begin to see real change in how we diagnose and treat men.
With the heavy focus on prostate cancer in the media, Theresa May announced an additional £75 million towards recruiting more men into prostate cancer clinical trials. This at last shows recognition of what a huge issue prostate cancer is and the focus needed to stop it from being a killer.
The difference that can be made through serious, long term investment in research is clear when you look at the impact it has had on other diseases. By the late 1990s, there was already a screening programme for breast cancer, as well as genetic tests and precision
medicine – all things that we are still working towards for prostate cancer.
Since that time, there has been only half as much spent on research into prostate cancer with the shortfall totalling hundreds of millions. As a result, the number of men dying from prostate cancer continues to rise.
If we want to reverse that trend for men, we need to invest heavily in research. One of the biggest and most important aspects of Prostate Cancer UK’s research strategy is our work towards a screening programme.
Our plan for screening in the next five years
We know that getting diagnosed early gives men the best chance possible, but the current tests are not reliable enough to be offered to all men regardless of their risk or symptoms. Too many men would have unnecessary biopsies and treatments, while lethal cancers continued to be missed. The harms would outweigh the benefits. But with better tests, we could have a system where all men over a certain age, would be invited for screening on a regular basis, similar to the way it works for breast and bowel cancer.
We know that there won’t be a single perfect test. Instead, we expect it to be a series of tests that can help to filter men out based on establishing their risk of having significant prostate cancer so that only those who really need it have to have a biopsy.
Until recently, the standard approach was to have a biopsy after a suspicious PSA test result, now thanks to our work many men have access to multiparametric MRI scans (mpMRI). This has already been a major step forward but isn’t enough on its own.
We need new tests and improvements at each stage of diagnosis including a more specific test that could follow the PSA test to rule out some false positives (men who have a raised PSA but don’t have cancer) before a mpMRI scan. This will most likely be an advanced type of blood test that looks for several markers of cancer, including proteins and genes that are linked to a high risk of cancer. It is difficult to find reliable markers that will work for everyone, which is why we’re investing heavily in this area.
We can make the PSA test work harder
We also want to improve our understanding of what a PSA result means for an individual man. We are currently funding research into a risk assessment tool, which will be able to take into account various different factors that influence a man’s risk. This will help GPs to decide the best course of action for a man with a suspicious result.
Building on the progress that we’ve made so far, and other research evidence we want to collect over coming years, our hope is to be in a position to call for a nationwide screening programme within five years. By then, we hope to be able to approach the National Screening Committee to present the evidence from our research and get a screening programme approved.
That is the scale of our ambition but if we’re to stay on track to deliver that, we need to raise significant sums.
We’re determined to make prostate cancer a disease future generations won’t have to fear. But we can’t do this alone. The government must follow through on its promise to prioritise early diagnosis of cancer and make the necessary resources and funding available to do so.
If research breakthroughs are to have any impact on the man in the clinic, NHS England and equivalent bodies in other parts of the UK, must have the infrastructure, workforce, training and drive required to harness them. We must work together and focus efforts if we are to save more lives and build a better future for men.
NHS rules on single sex wards lead to discrimination against men with eating disorders
Laura Donnelly, health editor 15 August 2018
Men with eating disorders are suffering discrimination because of NHS same sex ward rules, research suggests.
A study of 26 UK hospitals treating the condition found four had stopped admitting male patients entirely, in a bid to comply with Department of Health guidelines.
The rules, drawn up in 2010, say male and female patients should not be housed on the same wards, in a bid to protect patient dignity.
But the new study suggests that men suffering from eating disorders are getting worse access to care, because hospitals are prioritising single sex wards for female patients.
Men make up an estimated 25 per cent of the 1.25 million people with an eating disorder within the UK.
But on average, male sufferers will wait nearly three times as long female sufferers to be even referred for treatment.
The research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, also found that nine in ten patients with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia were in favour of mixed sex wards.
Patients told researchers that all-female wards could encourage “competitive” tendencies – which could be lethal among those with such conditions.
Dr Akiria Fukutomi, lead researcher, from Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service, run by Central and North West London Foundation trust, said: “The single-sex system disadvantages males as the majority of the patients are female.
“The fact that both professionals and patients believe eating disorder wards should be open to males, should spur units to accept males if they do not currently do so.
The researcher said the Government guidelines have been amended following the study, to allow mixed sex wards under particular conditions -such as keeping sleeping areas and bathrooms separate.
Andrew Radford, chief executive of charity Beat said, “We need to remove the barriers that can prevent men and boys from accessing treatment, by raising awareness and ensuring services are accessible and have enough resources to provide help.”
COVID-19’s Gender Gap
When Hilary Clinton said in 1998 that “women have always been the primary victims of war,” it sent a chill down the spine of many. It is a questionable piece of emotional accounting to calculate that, even though men die in greater numbers than women—often after being drafted unwillingly into combat—the impact on women is greater because they lose male relatives, become refugees, and are left with the responsibility of raising children alone.
But if you think Clinton’s accounting was reasonable, then you will have no problem with the narrative around the gender death gap in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. You might have noticed that in the media (for example, the BBC, the Guardian), and even in the world of health (for example, the World Health Organisation and the Lancet), a commonly recurring narrative has developed around the pandemic: More men are dying, but the real victims are women. Moreover, this narrative usually implies that men’s deaths are largely due to men’s poor decisions about health behaviour.
Are men’s deaths their own fault?
The Lancet suggests men’s deaths are related to “behaviours associated with masculine norms.” What do they mean by this? Well, there is no doubt that some behaviours can impact health, and some of these behaviours show sex differences. For example, men smoke cigarettes more than women do, and wash their hands less. Both of these behaviours have been suggested as the reason why men die more from COVID-19, mainly because hand-washing reduces the chance of infection, and smoking reduces lung capacity, making it easier for the coronavirus to take hold there.
However, neither of these explanations stand up well to scrutiny. Hand-washing impacts infection rates, and roughly equal numbers of men and women are infected by the novel coronavirus. So this doesn’t explain why more men die after they have been infected. Regarding smoking, in many countries men and women smoke at more or less the same rate (for example, Denmark) but men are still more likely to die—61 percent of Danish deaths are male (data is regularly updated here). Similarly, children rarely smoke, so smoking doesn’t explain why boys are more likely to die than girls. Nevertheless, smoking is still being offered as an explanation for men’s higher rate of COVID-19 deaths, long after publication of a study on March 16th concluding that active smoking is not associated with the severity of the illness.
Future data will no doubt tell us more, but for now we don’t have reasonable grounds to blame the greater number of men’s deaths on smoking or lack of hand-washing.
In fact, such explanations look increasingly like victim-blaming – that is, blaming someone for their own misfortune without taking other factors properly into account.
What explains the gender difference in mortality?
In all mammals, including humans, the female has two X chromosomes which gives their immune system an adaptive advantage compared to those of males, who have an XY chromosome pairing. In other words, men are more likely than women to die from a COVID-19 infection for genetic reasons. This has already been recognised in research on male coronavirus hospitalisation (published on January 14th) but most commentators don’t acknowledge this study, or downplay the genetic explanation in favour of behavioural explanations, such as smoking and hand-washing.
Why do we keep blaming men?
Men’s behaviour is often scapegoated as bad for their health in spite of research demonstrating that harnessing male-typical interests can facilitate physical and mental health. It is often overlooked that male-typical behaviour, such as taking risks, can be extremely beneficial to society. This is most clear in the emergency services, populated mainly by men, where risk-taking can be self-sacrificing—one person puts themselves in danger to benefit another. Indeed, men and women put themselves at risk of infection in ways that benefit others too (for example, health workers, delivery drivers, soldiers, supermarket cashiers, refuse collectors, and others) and they all deserve recognition.
This negative narrative around men risks exacerbating the gender empathy gap, part of a wider unconscious bias against men, recently identified as an aspect of gamma bias. Evolutionary psychologists understand that, by some accounting, women are indeed more important than men—for a population to thrive, 100 men and one woman won’t help much, whereas 100 women and one man is likely to be much more productive.
This leads to an important conclusion: Perhaps it is normal to value women more than men. Certainly, the media narrative would be totally different if 65 percent of COVID-19 deaths were women. And there is evidence that our views on women’s health are much more sensitive to causal factors in a way that doesn’t lead so readily to victim-blaming. It’s hard to imagine a female politician being mocked and blamed for contracting this disease while doing their job, and almost “taking one for the team” (which is to say, dying).
How can we improve this situation?
I am not saying that men should take no responsibility for their health behaviours, and I urge men to take appropriate health advice in relation to this pandemic. But I also urge influential institutions, such as the WHO, to be careful not to perpetuate a narrative that stigmatises masculinity or that encourages victim-blaming and the consequent alienation of men. After all the WHO is part of the UN, and Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Focusing on unlikely causes of men’s increased coronavirus mortality at the expense of more plausible biological factors isn’t helping us to understand this disease or to find a treatment.
We don’t have sufficient evidence about the causes of COVID-19 mortality to point the finger of blame at male behaviour, but it is unsurprising that men’s health has not been dealt with in a positive way. This is the pattern we have seen for years with many of men’s issues, including male suicide, male victims of domestic violence, and boys falling behind in education. My hope is that if we can learn to deal with the current pandemic with more empathy and humanity, we can deal with future crises more harmoniously and effectively, too.
Dr John Barry is a chartered psychologist, co-founder of the Male Psychology Network, and co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health. His new book Perspectives in Male Psychology is published by Wiley later this year. You can follow him on Twitter @MalePsychology.
Anti-HPV jab will be given to teenage boys… but only if they identify as girls so that ‘they fit in with their peers’
- For past decade girls have been vaccinated against HPV infection on the NHS
- Now the lifesaving cancer vaccine will be offered to boys who identify as girls
- Vaccine protects against human papillomavirus which causes various cancers
Published: 00:22, 3 June 2018 | Updated: 00:57, 3 June 2018
The NHS will give a lifesaving cancer vaccine to teenage boys – but only if they ‘identify’ as girls, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
New official advice makes clear that transgender girls – that is, those born male – will be offered the Gardasil jab so they fit in with ‘their peers’.
However, boys will continue to be denied the vaccine, which protects against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer among other forms of the disease.
New official advice makes clear that transgender girls – that is, those born male – will be offered the Gardasil jab so they fit in with ‘their peers’
Currently, all girls are offered the jab free on the NHS between the ages of 12 and 18.
Last night, the move to extend the vaccination programme to transgender boys was criticised as ‘completely wrong’ and an example of ‘medical discrimination’.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of parents’ group Transgender Trend, which is concerned about the rising number of children being diagnosed as transgender, said: ‘It is wrong that one set of males should have it, while others can’t. It’s a form of discrimination against boys who identify as boys.’
The Public Health England document states its HPV policy is being ‘amended to include immunisation of transgender boys and transgender girls’.
It explains that ‘transgender boys’ – those born female – ‘should be offered the vaccination to mitigate their risk of cervical cancer’.
By contrast, it gives a social rather than a medical reason for offering it to transgender girls – those born male – simply stating: ‘Transgender girls may be offered vaccination with their peers.’
About 1,500 women die annually in Britain from HPV-related cancers, including around 1,000 from cervical cancer.
The virus is spread by sex, intimate contact and kissing. Yet HPV kills some 650 men a year, mainly due to oral cancers.
While cervical cancer deaths are slowly declining, the number of HPV-related cancers in men is rising fast.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has argued inoculating boys would not be cost-effective, as most would be protected anyway as a by-product of female vaccination. On Wednesday, the JCVI will discuss the matter again.
The Mail on Sunday has been campaigning to end the vaccine apartheid.
Last week, we revealed how the Throat Cancer Foundation has launched legal action against Jeremy Hunt to force the Health Secretary to end the policy of giving jabs to girls only. Public Health England declined to explain why it was extending the jab to boys who identified as girls, but not to others.
Boys aged 12 and 13 are to be given the HPV jab at school
A global survey of more than 140,000 people in more than 140 countries found 79% of the world’s
From September boys in the UK will be given the HPV jab in a bid to wipe out cervical cancer.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has only been available to girls and protects against cervical cancer as well as penile cancer, genital cancers and some cancers of the head and neck.
The Government announced the news on Tuesday, July 9, adding that, with parental consent, from the start of the next school year boys in Year 8 who are aged 12 and 13 will be given the jab which protects against HPV for at least 10 years and possibly a lifetime.
For full protection, they will need two doses of the jab.
The first dose will be given in school in Year 8, with a follow-up dose six months to two years later, also given in school.
Wire With parental consent, from the start of the next school year boys in Year 8 who are aged 12 and 13 will be given the jab
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: “Offering the vaccine to boys will not only protect them but will also prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in girls and reduce the overall burden of these cancers in both men and women in the future.
“I encourage all parents of eligible boys and girls to make sure they take up the offer for this potentially life-saving vaccine.
“It’s important not to delay vaccination, as the vaccine may be less effective as adolescents get older.”
Estimates from the University of Warwick suggest the vaccine, which protects against the HPV, will prevent 64,138 cervical cancers and 49,649 non-cervical cancers in the UK by 2058.
This will include 3,433 cases of penile cancer and 21,395 cases of head and neck cancer, such as throat cancer, in men.
Giving boys the jab also protects girls from HPV, which is passed on through sexual contact.
The jab has been available to girls since 2008.In 2017/18, more than 80% of girls had completed the HPV vaccination course.
Public health minister Seema Kennedy said: “The success of the HPV vaccine programme for girls is clear and by extending it to boys we will go a step further to help us prevent more cases of HPV-related cancer every year. “Through our world-leading vaccination programme, we have already saved millions of lives and prevented countless cases of terrible diseases.
“Experts predict that we could be on our way toward eliminating cervical cancer for good.”
Women’s Health Survey (see article 8) Open Letter to Rt.Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) sent in July 2021 outlining the gross discrimination against Men caused by the introduction of the latest Women’s Health Strategy which excludes Men from the strategy. We have received no reply, nor even an acknowledgement.