News / Health

Oral Cancer Caused by HPV Soars in Developed Countries

Oral Cancer Caused by HPV Soars in Developed Countriesi
X
June 27, 2013 1:41 AM
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is commonly associated with sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer. So, when the well-known actor Michael Douglas implied that his throat cancer was caused by HPV, contracted through oral sex, the news made headlines around the world. As VOA’s Carol Pearson reports, HPV-caused oral cancer has been on the rise and mostly affects men.

Oral Cancer Caused by HPV Soars in Developed Countries

Carol Pearson
— The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is commonly associated with sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer. So, when the well-known actor Michael Douglas implied that his throat cancer was caused by HPV, contracted through oral sex, the news made headlines around the world. HPV-caused oral cancer has been on the rise and mostly affects men.

The human papillomavirus, HPV, is actually many different viruses. One particular strain causes oral cancer, and doctors say the number of cases is reaching epidemic levels. Most of the victims are men who live in developed countries.  

“There are almost about 20 million people in the US who have been infected and have this virus. Most of them, however, are not related to that particular HPV16 virus which is responsible for oropharyngeal cancer,” said Dr. Mumtaz Khan, a head and neck specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Yet Khan says HPV16-related cancer is reaching epidemic levels.

“The rate of oral oropharyngeal cancer related to HPV has significantly risen in the last two decades. I can give you an example of several studies quoting tonsil cancers to be about 28 percent related to HPV back in the 80’s, and now it’s up to 68-80 percent,” Khan said.

Right now there is no way to screen for oral cancer, so Khan says patients need to monitor themselves regularly.

"People should look for anything which is unusual, atypical, something new that is persisting, not going away, like a lump in the neck, a sore in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, change in voice," Khan said.

Khan says this type of cancer is very curable. But the infection can be prevented. HPV16 is one of the viruses targeted by the HPV vaccine. Khan says as the vaccine becomes more widely used, it's likely there will be fewer cases of this type of oral cancer.

In a recent study, however, the number of parents in the US who indicated they would not vaccinate their daughters against HPV increased from 40 to 44 percent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that boys be vaccinated against HPV.

In one promising discovery, researchers at the US National Cancer Institute said antibodies against the human papillomavirus may help identify those at risk for HPV-related oral cancer.  Although the findings are preliminary, one day a simple blood test might be able to identify patients at risk.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid