Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

1 in 9 Men Have This Cancer-Causing STD

After analyzing the results, they estimated that 11.5 percent of the 11 million men assessed had an oral HPV infection, and 3.2 percent of the 3.2 million women evaluated had oral HPV.

Genital HPV can cause cancer of the anus, penis and vagina. The prevalence of HPV infection was 12.7 and 3.6%, respectively, among men and women who reported having same-sex partners.

Researchers from Harvard University and other institutions across the country recently conducted a study to determine the difference in prevalence of oral and genital HPV infection among men and women. A pap smear looks for abnormal cells that are starting to behave like cancer cells; an HPV test, done instead or in addition, checks for the presence of the virus itself. Yet another possibility could be that, after a first infection, women develop greater resistance to subsequent infections.

Two FDA-approved vaccines - Cervarix and Gardasil - prevent infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which are most likely to cause cancer.

About 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancers, commonly known as throat cancers, are caused by HPV, according to the National Cancer Institute.

But while the Pap smear and, more lately, HPV tests have reduced rates of cervical cancer, rates of oral cancer are growing.

HPV is a problem for two reasons: One, it's incredibly common, as 79 million Americans have it at best estimate.

To sort out the epidemiology behind the cancer trends, U.S. researchers reported new findings on oral HPV prevalence in men and women, shedding light on sexual, lifestyle, and other factors that may help guide public health interventions. The CDC recommends the vaccination for adolescents.

The authors said the results confirm that oral HPV is common in United States men and that the findings will help guide future oropharyngeal cancer prevention efforts.

This CDC survey monitors the health and nutritional status of the nation's population.

All told, about 11.5% of study participants had an oral HPV infection. Moreover, rates of oral HPV are higher in younger and older people, and that, too, is not understood, said Gravitt, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. This type was six times more common in men than women. It was most prevalent in men 50 to 69 years old, the team said.

"The incidence of this cancer has increased 300 percent in the last 20 years", said lead researcher Ashish Deshmukh.

It was stage 4 oropharyngeal cancer.

HPV infections overall and high-risk HPV oral infections in particular were "significantly associated" with cigarette and marijuana use, the researchers found.

The HPV vaccine is recommended before the start of sexual activity.

One specialist said a lot of unknowns surround oral HPV.

Meanwhile, she noted that "85% of the population will encounter" human papillomavirus in their lifetime. Fortunately, vaccination is freely available and new figures show that the vaccine works. For any further need, you can take notes.

The risk hit the headlines 2013 when actor Michael Douglas announced that he was being treated for throat cancer and said he believed it was caused by HPV. The only way to prevent infection is the HPV vaccine but once someone's already infected - and that's most people over age 26 - the vaccine doesn't help.

Even if all those eligible to receive the vaccine got it in the next year or so, "it will need at least 20-30 years to reverse the rising rates of oropharyngeal cancer among USA men because majority of men at risk for this cancer are already older than vaccine eligibility age".

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