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New charity to tackle the rise in throat cancer

MPs are being asked to support an early day motion tabled on behalf of the Throat Cancer Foundation, a new charity founded by a throat cancer survivor that aims to raise awareness of 'a growing, under-recognised problem'.

Tabled by MP John Robertson, EDM No 980 focuses on the issue of increasing numbers of patients diagnosed with throat cancer, with almost 12,000 cases in the UK in 2010. Men are more likely to be affected by this type of cancer, which is mainly caused by tobacco, alcohol and HPV infection.

The Throat Cancer Foundation (TCF), launched today, is dedicated to the prevention of throat cancers through research, education and vaccination and wants to draw public attention to the strong link between HPV infection and throat cancer.

Call for vaccine

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a very contagious virus which lives on the skin. According to the charity, many cases of cancers of the throat, anus, cervix, vulva and penis and genital warts could be prevented through a more comprehensive and gender neutral HPV immunisation programme.

Since the Australian government is extending its immunisation programme to boys, the Throat Cancer Foundation strongly urges the UK government to take the same step and to extend HPV vaccination to all 12-year-old boys as well as girls.

Professor Christopher Nutting, lead clinician of the Head and Neck unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: 'At the moment girls are routinely vaccinated against HPV but boys are not, meaning they are routinely being exposed to a virus that can cause life threatening cancers.'

MPs are encouraged to support EDM No 980 in order to help preventing the 'ticking timebomb' of throat cancer, as TCF founder and CEO Jamie Rae puts it. He said: 'Our aim is to raise public awareness of the causes, symptoms and prevention of throat cancers and ensure patients have access to a "Gold Standard" of treatment as well as fighting to eradicate this type of cancer in future generations.'

MHF CEO Martin Tod and chair Professor Alan White have backed the call for a gender-neutral approach to vaccination.

Page created on February 1st, 2013

Page updated on February 1st, 2013