Oral HPV in Men Is On the Rise
Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is a cancer that affects the back of the throat. It’s now the most common cancer related to human papillomavirus (HPV), surpassing cervical cancer numbers. And OPSCC affects about 4 times more men than women, according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine. Those numbers are expected to grow over the next few decades. Health experts believe HPV causes 7 in 10 cases of oropharyngeal cancers.
Men have higher rates of oral HPV
In the general population of the U.S., oral HPV infections are considerably more common in men than in women. While 7 million men have oral HPV, only 1.4 million women are diagnosed with the infection. Also, the presence of HPV 16, one of the two main types of HPV linked to cancer, is 6 times greater in men than in women.
According to the study, men with the highest risk for oral HPV:
Had more than 16 oral sex partners
Also had genital HPV
Smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day
Had two more or same-sex oral sex partners
HPV vaccine recommended for all
According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine was developed to prevent genital cancers. But it could also prevent oropharyngeal cancers. The vaccine is recommended for all 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls. Older teens and young adults up to age 26 may also be eligible for the vaccine. If you’re too old for the vaccine, using condoms or dental dams may help. Ask your doctor about your options.