HPV-Related Head, Neck Cancers on the Rise04/04/12
WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of head and
neck cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) is rising in
the United States, with the greatest increase among middle-aged
white men, a new study finds.
Tobacco and alcohol are the leading risk factors for head and
neck cancers, but the sexually transmitted infection HPV is
becoming an important risk factor as well, according to researchers
from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New
For the study, Edward Peters, associate professor and director
of the epidemiology program at the university's School of Public
Health, and colleagues analyzed data from 40 U.S. cancer registries
from 1995 to 2005 and found a significant overall increase in head
and neck cancers in areas of the body strongly associated with HPV
infection, and a significant decline in head and neck cancers in
sites not associated with the virus.
The three sites associated with HPV infection are the tonsil,
the base of the tongue and lingual tonsil, and parts of the
oropharynx, according to the report published online March 20 in
Younger people, whites and Hispanics had a significant increase
in incidence in HPV-associated sites during the period studied,
while incidence for both HPV-associated and non-associated sites
decreased among younger blacks, the study authors said in a
university news release.
The findings suggest that because the disease process for
HPV-associated head and neck cancers is different, HPV tumor status
should be considered in treatment decisions, the authors noted.
HPV also causes cervical cancer, which is why many girls and
young women now get vaccinated against HPV. "With the introduction
of the HPV vaccine, this study suggests that the vaccine can not
only be used to help prevent cervical cancer, but head and neck
cancer as well," Peters said in the news release.
Head and neck cancers include cancer in the nasal cavity,
sinuses, lips, mouth, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice
box). More than 52,000 people in the United States were expected to
be diagnosed with head and neck cancers last year, according to the
U.S. National Cancer Institute.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
head and neck cancers.
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