HPV, the human papillomavirus, is a virus that has no real symptoms that stand out, but it is quickly becoming one of the most concerning viruses in the medical world. Developed just one short decade ago, there is a new reason to get the HPV vaccine to protect yourself. New studies show that those exposed to the virus have as much as a sevenfold risk factor to develop head and neck cancer.
Head and neck cancers used to be thought of as diseases caused by drinking and smoking, but the sharp rise in cancers for heterosexual men had researchers taking a second look at the assumptions made about cancer in those regions. A new mouthwash test is giving doctors a glimpse into who is most at risk for HPV related cancers, by detecting who has been infected with the virus.
Oral HPV infection was part of the study that compared 96,000 patients over four years, and the conclusion was that those who had been exposed to the HPV orally, 132 of them had succumbed to head or neck cancer. Grouping participants in threes, the only similarity that they could find for those who developed cancer in the head and neck was oral infection by the virus.
It has long been known that HPV is responsible for a good majority of cervical cancer occurrences, which is spread through sexual contact, but head and neck cancer is beginning to make gains. The medical community believes that by 2020, head and neck should surpass cervical cancer in new cases. The good news is that HPV is preventable. There are currently two different FDA-approved vaccines available to stop the transmission of HPV from person to person.
Once only regarded as a predominantly women’s health issue, the new findings suggest that the vaccination isn’t a good idea just for girls, but something that should be essential for men as well. Responsible for cancers of the anus and the cause for genital warts, the vaccination just makes good sense for anyone who is engaging in sexual contact.
A new form of the vaccination, Gardasil, was approved earlier this year. It protects individuals from five additional new high-risk strains of the virus and may help to cut down on new cancer cases for future generations.
The vaccination course is three doses, and the recommendation is that children between the ages of eleven and twelve should begin the course to vaccinate properly before they become adults and their risk factors are greatly increased. Statistics are that as many as two-thirds of Americans are currently infected with one of the 109 known various types of HPV, which can cause great concern for different types of cancer risk.
The Gardasil vaccination may be an excellent way for the next generation to cut back on, not only the transmission of warts and genital lesions, but cancers which begin from transmission of the HPV virus. If you are someone who is interested in an advanced degree in the medical field, then why not take a look at some of the online degrees available from the University of Cincinnati and Adelphi University, or get your George Washington's masters in health administration degree online and start on the road to an excellent career.