Oral Cancers Linked to HPV On the Rise

hpvAccording to a new government study, the rate of HPV linked oral cancers (oropharyngeal cancer) rose considerably over the last two decades in the United States.

Oropharyngeal cancer is when malignant tumors form on the tissues of the oropharynx. The oropharynx is the middle part of the throat behind the mouth and includes the back of the tongue, the soft palate, the tonsils, and the side and back of the throat.

Researchers determined that oral cancers increased by 28% from 1988 to 2004. Investigators also concluded that rates of HPV positive cancers increased by 225%, and also noted that there was an increase in survival of head and neck cancers during that time. HPV was concluded to be the cause of the both the increase in oral cancers and the increase in survival of oral cancers.

Approximately 20,000 men and women in the US were diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV each year from 1998 to 2005. Researchers believe that HPV will be the leading cause of head and neck cancers in the USA within the next few decades, and more clinical trials need to be done.

HPV has long been known to cause cervical cancers, but the significant growth of oral cancers in the United States over the last twenty years is quite alarming. As many of you already know due to the political debates surrounding the vaccines, young women ages 9-13 are recommended to get the HPV vaccine, which protects against certain types of HPV. It is not yet known if the vaccines can prevent oral infections. Routine screenings and pap smears are also recommended for women to treat and prevent HPV infection. There is currently no vaccine and no way to test for HPV in men, an issue that hopefully will be addressed as more and more cases of HPV linked cancers occur.

About 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and another 6 million are infected each year. At least 50% of sexually active people in the United States will get it at some point in their lives. These staggering numbers insist that more research and clinical studies are needed as HPV related cancers in both men and women, without a doubt, is a growing problem.

To View the Study: Click here

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