Dramatic increase in throat cancer from HPV virus a looming health crisis: doctors
Researchers say they have found the first direct evidence that the rate of throat cancers linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV) is on a “dramatic” rise in Canada, and will likely pose a major burden to health care for years to come.
The trend seems linked to increased oral sex, especially by men, and is another reason why more effort must be made to improve the lacklustre uptake of the HPV vaccine, say doctors at a London, Ont., hospital.
“The HPV [throat-cancer] epidemic will have tremendous implications for health-care resources,” said their paper, just published in the journal Current Oncology. “These typically younger, healthier patients have a high chance of surviving their disease, and they will have to live with the toxicity of treatment for many decades.”
The sensitive issue came under surprising focus this spring, when actor Michael Douglas suggested in an interview that his throat cancer might have been caused by HPV contracted through oral sex. (Photo: Geoff Robins for National Post)