HPV AND MOUTH CANCER
ANCHOR LEAD: HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS CAUSES MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF CANCER, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Cancers that arise in the tonsils and back of the tongue are most often the result of infection with certain stains of human papilloma virus, or HPV, the same virus that’s implicated in cancers of the cervix in women. That’s according to Maura Gillison, a head and neck cancer specialist at Johns Hopkins and senior author of a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.
GILLISON: I think a very important take home message is a subset of oral cancers is caused by HPV. That these occur more commonly in men than in women, that men are at risk for cancers caused by HPV, and that our vaccine programs need to incorporate vaccination in men. First, of course, they have to be shown to be effective in men. :23
The current vaccine recommended for use in adolescent girls does cover HPV 16, the subtype found in most cases of oropharyngeal cancer. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.