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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid