The human papillomavirus virus (HPV) has long been linked to oral cancers in men through oral sex. But according to CBS and ABC, a new report shows that the rate of HPV linked oral cancers in men is rapidly increasing.
Though the report mainly focuses on an increase in the rates of upper throat cancers in men, the same is true for cancers of the tongue, neck and the mucus membranes lining the inner cheeks.
The report -- published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology -- showed that cases of HPV-positive tumors in men rose from 16 percent in the late 1980s to nearly 73 percent by the early 2000s.
The HPV virus is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection. But the majority of HPV infections in young women usually disappear before 1 year, causing no symptoms.
The 5-10% of infections in women that persist for years will usually develop into cervical cancer.
While women can also get oral cancer, the risk to men is far greater. The majority of infected women show no symptoms, but the HPV virus is still floating in their vaginal fluid, and is easily transmitted to men, just like the HIV virus.
Once oral cancer is detected -- and by that I mean once you notice it -- most oral cancers are already in the 3rd or 4th stages, and already past the point of successful treatment.
The death rate for oral cancer is higher than for most cancers. One person dies of oral cancer per hour every day in the U.S.
Treatment is usually radical and can be totally disfiguring. In some cases, most of the the tongue is removed, as are lymph nodes in the neck, taking a large chunk of your neck along with it.
Oral cancer is usually spotted during routine dental visits -- that is IF your dentist or dental hygienist is trained to spot the tiny nodules and lesions that most patients don't notice in their mouths.
This is why preventative therapy is so important. If you are a man who regularly engages in oral sex with women, make an appointment to visit your dentist soon.
Ask your dentist to perform an oral cancer screening. Hopefully your dentist is high tech and uses specialized equipment to detect oral cancers that can't be seen by the naked eye.
If you don't have a dentist, the dental hygienists at Atlanta Dental Center at 620 Peachtree Street or Dr. Joe Lester's dental practice at 1217 Royal Dr SW in Conyers are trained to spot oral cancers during routine teeth cleaning.
This has been your Medical Minute.
Any medical advice published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. Sandrarose.com and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following advice found on this blog.
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More Info On The Web
Lump on tongue; Vicki's story - rdoc.org
Oral Cancer - Medicinenet.com
Tongue Cancer - MayoClinic.org
Tongue cancer - WebMD
Oral cancer support forum - rdoc.org