A fresh Danish study among around 22,000 Danish men, demonstrates that only one in every 10 men aged 18 to 45 years, have heard of HPV – the virus which for men can lead to penile and anal cancer and cervical cancer for women. Results suggests, that men walks around thinking that the HPV virus has nothing to do with them. But men actually do have a big responsibility.
-They have, as HPV is a virus, mainly transmitted sexually. It is therefore particularly essential that men are aware, that they are carriers in relation to women and cervical cancer and that they can develop for example, penile cancer, anal cancer and certain forms of cancer of the head and neck region, “says researcher Ann Nielsen from the Danish Cancer Fighting, who is the major author of the research.
The study shows that the minority of men have knowledge of about HPV, and this is regardless of whether they are 18 or 45 years.
-For women, studies prove that older women are more aware of HPV rather than younger women. Yet this does not apply to men, says Ann Nielsen.
Even if there has been further awareness of HPV and vaccines, Ann Nielsen does not think that it has reached the men yet.
-When we interviewed the men, there were an incipient awareness of HPV. The first vaccine against cervical cancer was – at the time – just come on the Danish market, explains Ann Nielsen.
HPV is primarily sexually transmitted. Today all girls born in Denmark in 1996 or later are offered a free of charge HPV vaccination as part of the general vaccination program. Furthermore, all girls born in 1993, 1994 and 1995 received the offer of free vaccination. So far Danish boys will not be offered free vaccination.
Ann Nielsen points out that there really is a vast need for information efforts towards men. – Not merely related to sexual life. We also have to do with a target audience – fathers with children who are offered vaccination. It is tremendously vital that their information is high, when they should think about whether their daughter should be vaccinated, says Ann Nielsen.
Need for knowledge American research have also shown, that an increased focus on HPV means an increased knowledge. In the U.S., the number of anal cancer and head and neck cancer incidents has grown.
-We estimate that the same applies in Denmark. And we must not lose sight of the genital warts – something that many men and women suffer from. We estimate that around 10 percent of all men, at some time in their lives, become infected with genital warts.
Therefore, it is purely needed to have knowledge and awareness out to the audience, says Ann Nielsen.
The study is published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention.
Knowledge on HPV transmission is extremely important, and you should consider having a HPV test done as soon as possible.