HPV Vaccine Approved for Head, Neck and Throat Cancer Prevention

HPV-attributable oropharyngeal cancer affects men 5 times more than women
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The successful prevention of cervical cancer from Human papillomaviruses (HPV) vaccination is now extending to throat, head, and neck cancers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on June 12, 2020, an expanded indication for the Gardasil 9 vaccine for the prevention of cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Approximately 40 HPV types are associated with anogenital infections that are primarily acquired through sexual contact.

For most people, HPV clears on its own. 

But, for those who don't clear the virus, it can cause certain cancers. 

According to a recent model published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV-attributable oropharyngeal cancer has surpassed cervical cancer as the most prevalent type of HPV-related cancer in the USA.

Both men and women can be at risk for HPV-attributable oropharyngeal cancer; however, this cancer affects men 5 times more than women, says the CDC.

Oropharyngeal cancer can arise as a result of HPV infection in the oropharynx, which includes the soft palate, side and back wall of the throat, tonsils, and back one-third of the tongue.

Not all cervical and oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV.

According to the CDC, HPV is so common that 80% of people who are sexually active get HPV at some point in their life. Furthermore, with the exception of cervical cancer, there is no routinely recommended screening for the detection of HPV-related cancers.

The GARDASIL 9 (Human Papillomavirus 9-valent Vaccine, Recombinant) helps protect against seven HPV types that cause the majority of HPV-related cancers in the USA.

Continued approval of this oropharyngeal, head, and neck cancer indication ‘may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial that is currently underway,’ said Merck’s press statement.

HPV vaccine news published by Vax Before Cancer.