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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 16 September
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 16 September 2008
the HPV virus

Full programme transcript >>

HPV

In this edition of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter investigates the HPV (human papillomavirus) family of viruses.

This month has seen the inclusion into the routine NHS immunisation schedule of the world’s first vaccine against cancer.

As of the start of this school term, every 12 and 13 year old girl will be offered the jab to protect her against infection with two strains of the human papilloma virus, strains 16 and 18, that account for around three quarters of all cases of cancer of the cervix.

Discussing the new vaccine and other aspects of HPV with Mark is Dr Anne Szarewski, Clinical Consultant at Cancer Research UK.

He also speaks to Professor Jack Cuzick, also from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, about the many different strains of the HPV virus. 

Prof. Cuzick explains that 70-80% of sexually active women will have been exposed to the HPV virus by the time they are 30, but that in most cases the infection will clear up by itself.  However, a small proportion of people will go on to develop cancer. 

Anna Lacey talks to a group of young women about their views on the new vaccine, and asks whether the current catch-up programme, which will include girls who haven't been vaccinated up to the age of 18, should be extended to include those up to the age of 26.  

It’s not just the cancer causing - or oncogenic – properties of HPV that cause us problems, it’s also the virus responsible for verrucas and warts, including sexually transmitted genital warts.

However, the strains that cause genital warts do not develop into cancer.

Many people are too embarrassed to visit their GP to have genital warts treated, but Mark speaks to Dr Thom Van Every who has set up a website to diagnose and treat genital warts online to help people avoid the mortification of a face to face examination. 

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