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Promise and Progress - HPV Oral Cancers and Risk of Infection for Couples

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

HPV Oral Cancers and Risk of Infection for Couples

Date: July 16, 2014

American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, June 2013

Kimmel Cancer Center researchers studied patients with mouth and throat cancers related to persistent human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, known as HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers, and their spouses and long-term partners.  They found that the spouses and partners appeared to have no increased prevalence of oral HPV infections. HPV-positive oral cancers are on the rise among white men in the U.S., and fear of transmitting the virus can lead to anxiety, divorce, and curtailing of sex and intimacy among couples.  Researchers Gypsyamber D’Souza, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Sara Pai, M.D., Ph.D., found oral HPV among spouses and long-term partners of HPV-positive cancer patients was comparable to rates among the general public.

The research was funded by the Johns Hopkins Innovation Fund and the Richard Belb Cancer Prevention Award.

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