Number of HPV-Related Cancers Climbs

Gardasil is the vaccine that protects against HPV.
Doctors say the number of HPV-related cancers is on rise. The news comes on the heels of a vaccination report, showing fewer than half of girls aged 13-17 received the vaccine to protect against HPV.

What is HPV

HPV infection is a common STD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 75 to 80 percent of females and males in the United States will be infected at some point in their lives.

While most people will battle the infection with no side effects, some people deal with cellular changes that cause warts or cancer.  This can include cervical, and vaginal cancers in women and head and throat cancer in men.

“There’s a lag in information,” Dr. John Deeken, a medical oncologist at Georgetown University, told ABCNews.com. “We physicians have done a poor job of advertising the fact that boys and girls should have the vaccine.

“This kind of cancer traditionally affects males who have been smoking and drinking all their life, and now in their mid-60s they are getting head and neck cancer,” he said. “However, HPV cancer we are seeing in younger patients who have never smoked.”

Throat cancer climbing

A recent study suggests the number of men affected by HPV-related throat cancers have climbed. According to ABC News, in 2004 there were nearly 4,000 to 4,500 cases of HPV-related oropharynx cancer in men and women. The number of cases is expected to double to 8,500 by 2020, with the increase occurring primarily in men.

The controversial vaccine

The vaccine for HPV is controversial in some circles.

The vaccine, which is administered over time in three doses, was approved for girls in 2006. A few years later, the vaccine was also suggested for boys. The vaccine has stirred much debate between parent and doctors. To learn about the debate, check out this previous article about HPV on Access.com.

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