USA Today (01.07.13)
Increased screening has resulted in lower rates of cervical cancer in the United States, but the incidence of other cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) went up from 2000 to 2009. The National Cancer Institute reported that “changes in sexual practice” are the most likely reason for higher rates of HPV-related oral, anal, vulvar, and penile cancers.
The rate of oral cancer went up by almost 5 percent for Native American men and 3.9 percent for white men from 2000 to 2009. During the same time frame, anal cancer rates increased for every population group, especially black men, white women, white men, and Asian men. HPV caused only 16 percent of oral cancers from 1984 to 1989; from 2000 to 2009, over 70 percent of oral cancers are due to HPV. The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 10 percent of men and 3.6 percent of women have active oral HPV infections. No screening tests exist for cancers of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue, according to Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
HPV vaccines are effective in preventing cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. CDC recommends the HPV vaccines for boys and girls at age 11 or 12. The vaccine targets HPV 16, which also causes most of the HPV-associated oral cancers. Richard Schlegel, chair of Pathology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, stated that the HPV vaccine would probably block oral cancers, too. HPV-related oral cancers occur in 7,100 Americans each year.
The full report, “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009, Featuring the Burden and Trends in HPV-Associated Cancers and HPV Vaccination Coverage Levels,” was published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (doi:10.1093/jnci/djs491).