REGINA – Saskatchewan has become the latest province to offer a free vaccine to help protect boys from some types of cancer.
The province says that starting this school year about 7,500 Grade 6 boys will be eligible to receive the HPV vaccine.
The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in Canada and is linked to a number of cancers, including mouth, throat, penile and cervical cancers.
The HPV vaccine is already available to Grade 6 girls in Saskatchewan, and health officials say it is most effective when given to young people before they become sexually active.
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says the proportion of oral cancers caused by the human papillomavirus has risen significantly in Canada.
Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter says the HPV vaccine is part of the province’s comprehensive vaccination program.
“We are pleased to provide $750,000 annually for this additional investment in the health and well-being of our children,” he said Friday in a release.
The Canadian Cancer Society said Saskatchewan’s announcement means that all provinces and Yukon now include boys in their HPV programs.
The society says British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick also began offering the vaccine to boys this month.