Shedding the Light on Oral Cancer Prevention
In June of 2013 actor Michael Douglas stated during an interview that his throat cancer was caused by HPV (Kotz, 2013). Many people were shocked. Around the country awareness was spread that HPV can cause oropharyngeal cancer. HPV is an abbreviation for Human Papillomavirus. It is a sexual transmitted virus that affects moist areas of the body through skin to skin contact ("Human papillomavirus," 2013). The vaccines, such as Gardasil and Cervarix, are given to prevent the infection of the virus HPV ("Hpv vaccine- questions," 2012). Every year tons of parents take their daughters to get the series of HPV vaccines. The CDC (The Center of Disease Control and Prevention) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is now recommending the vaccination of males as well ("Hpv vaccine- questions," 2012). The reasoning behind male vaccination is that the vaccines have now been approved for anal sex as well. So if we now are aware that oropharyngeal cancer can be caused by the Human Papillomavirus, then shouldn’t the vaccines for HPV also be given and work for the prevention of oral cancer?
To start our investigation we must first understand oral cancer related to HPV. Seventy percent of all oral cancers are positive for the Human Papillomavirus("Human papillomavirus," 2013). There are more than 100 types of HPV (Castillo, D. A., 2011). Of these 100s, there are a dozen of HPV types that are high-risk. In this dozen there are 2 that are responsible for most of the HPV caused cancers. These two are HPV 16 and HPV 18 (Callaway, C., 2010). When testing people with oral cancer the most prevalent of the HPV types is HPV 16(Castillo, D. A., 2011). This is important to remember as we begin to discuss Human Papillomavirus vaccines.
There are currently two vaccines for HPV. The names of them are Gardasil and Cervarix. Both of these vaccines were originally meant to prevent cervical cancer in girls and women. It is recommended that girls/women ages 9 to 26 get the vaccination (Gardasil, 2013). It is given in a set of 3 vaccinations that are spaced out by a specific amount of time recommended by the drug company ("Hpv vaccine- questions," 2012). Cervarix is supposed to prevent a female from obtaining the high risk strains of HPV type 16 and type 18 (Herrero, Dr. R., 2013). Gardasil, on the other hand, is meant to prevent females from obtaining HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18 (Gardasil, 2013). Recently the CDC released that the Gardasil vaccine is now also recommended for boys/men ages 9 to 26 to prevent the transmission of HPV through anal sex ("Hpv vaccine- questions," 2012). So looking at all this information, researchers began to wonder. There are two vaccines for HPV. It is now approved for men for anal sex. What about oral sex? More and more people are now engaging in oral sex. Approximately 85% of 18 to 24 year olds report engaging in oral sex (Stock, Dr. M., 2013). Around the country teens and young adults are viewing...