RISK OF HPV
ANCHOR LEAD: THE VIRUS ABBREVIATED HPV CAUSES MUCH OF THE CANCER FOUND IN THE BACK OF THE MOUTH, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Human papilloma virus is now known to cause additional forms of cancer besides cervical cancer in women. A study by Maura Gillison, a head and neck cancer specialist at Johns Hopkins and senior author, concludes that HPV also causes mouth cancers.
GILLISON: The paper shows that HPV infection of the mouth is a very strong risk factor for oropharynx cancer or cancers that arise from the tonsils in the back of the throat or in the back of the tongue. :13
Gillison says that about 60% of cancers found in these locations were related to HPV infection.
GILLISON: We found that individuals who had been exposed to HPV had a 32 fold increase in risk of getting oropharynx cancer compared to individuals who had not been exposed to HPV. Now this dwarfed the risk associated with alcohol and tobacco. It even dwarfed the risk associated with heavy alcohol and tobacco use. :21
The paper appears in the May 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.