A paper presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in Atlanta by Farzan Siddiqui, director of the Head and Neck Radiation Therapy Program at Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Radiation Oncology in Detroit, explores the dramatic increase in throat and mouth cancers caused by the HPV. according to Siddiqui, there has been a 113% increase in oropharyngeal cancer in white Americans between 1973 and 2009.
“If they’re HPV-related, they have a good prognoses and we’re able to cure these cancers in the large majority of the persons,” Siddiqui told The Nation’s Health. “But these people, in their late 30s and early 40s, they have surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. That makes a huge impact on their quality of life. There are a lot of long-term side effects they’ll have to life with.”
Meanwhile the oropharyngeal cancer rate in black Americans decreased by 52 percent between 1973 and 2009, but the population’s five-year survival rate was worse, the study said.
He was unsure why the difference between blacks and whites showed up in the data, but speculated that decrease smoking rates may have impacted the rate, and the source of the cancer could impact the survival rate. Race based disparities in health care outcomes are well beyond the scope of this blog post, but some studies for certain cancers have shown that if socio-economic status was controlled, the impact of race disappeared. Whether this would be true in this case, I simply do not know.
The point of this post is to state that oropharyngeal cancer cancers caused by HPV are increasing and vaccines are the most effective means of bringing this under control.