Alberta is looking into the possibility of including boys in a free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program.

The vaccine is most often given to girls entering Grade 5 to protect from a virus that can cause cervical and other deadly types of cancer. The vaccine can prevent 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

Since 2008, it's estimated about 60 per cent of girls in Alberta between the ages of nine and 13 have received the shot.

Some medical studies suggest the HPV vaccine would also protect boys against genital warts and some cancers, including penile.

The HPV virus is responsible for half of all cases of cancer of the penis.

Penile cancer is relatively rare, accounting for one per cent of cancers among men in Europe and North America.

Up until 2010, the vaccine was not approved for use in males.

Health Canada approved the vaccine brand Gardasil for males in 2010 but another vaccine, Cervarix, is only approved for females.