Japan's silence on HPV vaccinations will lead to 11,000 cancer deaths, study says
Japan Times -- Feb 12
A decision by the government to stop recommending adolescent girls receive an HPV vaccination will likely result in almost 11,000 deaths from cervical cancer if it is not reversed, according to a study in a prestigious medical journal.

The HPV vaccine has been a political lightning rod in Japan, where claims of side effects prompted the government to halt active recommendation of the shots in June 2013.

A study published in The Lancet Public Health on Monday said that policy would lead to more than 24,600 cervical cancer cases that could have been prevented.

Using Japanese population and medical data and forecasted cervical cancer incidence, the study found that, if nothing changes, there would be 10,800 preventable deaths from cervical cancer over the next 50 years.

“If the government were to resume promoting the HPV vaccine in Japan, our study shows that we could avoid most of this loss of life,” said study co-author Sharon Hanley, a professor at Hokkaido University.

The government could not immediately be reached for comment on the Lancet report. Kei Tamura, deputy director of the health ministry’s immunization office, said in an interview in December that “there is a sort of inner conflict in that we are not aggressively, proactively recommending it, but I do think it’s better to take it.”

HPV, which stands for the human papilloma virus, causes genital warts in both sexes and cervical cancer in women. Each year, about 10,000 Japanese women are newly diagnosed with the cancer, while 3,000 die from it.

News source: Japan Times
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