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Researchers find link between throat cancer and HPV

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A recent study from the University of New South Wales in Australia found that a human papillomavirus infection may increase the risk of throat cancer by as much as threefold.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is linked to cervical cancer, genital cancers and oropharyngeal cancer, which originates in the back of the throat.

University researchers examined the rate of HPV patients diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, or throat cancer, through lab tests. The disease's most common causes are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or extremely hot liquids, eating a diet rich in red meat and possibly consuming a certain amount of toxins.

"This is an important new finding which resolves a previous uncertainty," said Raina MacIntyre, senior author of the study. "Given that the most common two cervical-cancer-causing HPVs are now preventable by early vaccination, this may be significant in countries where [esophageal squamous cell carcinoma] is frequently found."

MacIntyre went on to note that this type of cancer is responsible for a large number of deaths in China, so having a proven preventative measure, such as an HPV vaccine, may be of particular interest to their health authorities.

The report noted that while the team established a link between HPV and throat cancer, further research is required to determine whether HPV is the actual cause.

HPV and medical complications
Females who are sexually active may contract HPV and should get an STD diagnosis test as soon as possible. The CDC recommends that all 11 and 12 year olds receive an HPV vaccine, which is often administered in three shots over six months. The set of vaccines is not harmful and can be very effective in preventing certain strains of the virus - the source noted that 21,000 cases of cancer could be avoided with widespread immunization.

According to the CDC, cancer is not the only medical complication that is linked to HPV. In some cases, the virus can lead to genital warts. Roughly 360,000 people get genital warts in the U.S. every year after contracting HPV. In some rare instances, patients can also develop recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Only 820 adolescents in the nation get RRP annually, but it causes affected individuals to develop tumors in the respiratory tract.

It is recommended that anyone who is eligible get vaccinated and seek a lab test to detect any other infectious diseases.

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