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MOUTH CANCER

ANCHOR LEAD:  SOME CANCERS OF THE THROAT AND MOUTH RESPOND BETTER TO TREATMENT THAN OTHERS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Certain strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV, cause many of the cancers of the mouth and throat.  Now a study in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that these cancers caused by HPV respond better to treatment.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.

NELSON: What we’ve learned is that people who have that as a cause of their cancer as opposed to cigarette smoking, alcohol use and other causes of oropharyngeal cancer, the HPV or papilloma associated cancers people do better with treatment, and significantly so. :15

Nelson says this observation points to a need for screening.

NELSON: This is a clear indication that you want to be tested because you can take therapies that are more likely to be effective and you can begin to shape a treatment regimen that’s less likely to cause side effects, complications and morbidity, and I think HPV testing is going to become a mainstay of treatment in this disease. :17

Nelson says the study also underscores that many of these cancers could be prevented with vaccination against HPV.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


 


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