Credit: This story was first seen on the BBC
A mum-of-two is calling for boys to receive a vaccine currently only given to girls to protect against cancer, the BBC reports.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) jab is offered to teenage girls in the UK to protect against cervical cancer.
A health committee will meet later to review whether boys should also be given the jab, which can protect against throat and penile cancers.
Dr Kirsty Bonney from Devon paid privately for sons Zak, 13 and Finn, 11 to be immunised.
She made the decision after working on a chemotherapy unit where she looked after two young men with HPV-related throat cancers.
She said she wants to see boys “equally protected” with the HPV vaccine rather than risk cancer in later life.
“I could never really understand why we weren’t vaccinating boys and then I discovered we could have it done privately.
“I’d be much happier knowing all the boys’ friends were equally protected.
“I wouldn’t want to be seeing one of their friends in my surgery in a few years time [with cancer] because they hadn’t been vaccinated.
“[The jab] is certainly not cheap [at £540 for both boys] but the cost of that compared to the thought of them getting a throat cancer puts it into perspective.”
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises UK health departments on immunisation and is considering extending the programme to include boys.
It said there was increasing evidence on links between HPV infection and other cancers.
It will discuss the matter at a meeting later and has asked Public Health England to look at the cost effectiveness of such a change.
Gary Tanner from Somerset, was diagnosed with HPV-related throat cancer in 2013.
He has undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and had his voice box removed. The 64-year-old said vaccinating girls alone made no sense.
“I am still living with cancer and most certainly my wife and I are living with the fear of cancer. We know it has shortened my life expectancy. There are vaccines available to prevent to protect people against this. I think they should be used on all available members of the public.”
Infection with HPV is the cause of almost all cervical cancers.
Campaign group HPV Action said it was “unfair that females should be expected to bear sole responsibility for tackling an infection that affects both sexes similarly”.
In a letter to the JCVI, it said “significant” numbers of men will have sex with unvaccinated women.
“While private vaccinations can protect individual boys, this is not a solution for the male population as a whole,” a spokesman added.
Public Health England’s head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said boys are already protected, with around 85% of eligible girls fully immunised.
She said: “This helps to prevent the spread of the disease in girls and boys.”