Updated
August 28th, 2018

Mouth and Throat Cancer Rate Displaces Cervical Cancer

Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is now the most common HPV-associated cancer

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There is good and bad news regarding cancer trends associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer rates increased for oropharyngeal, anal and vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC).

But, cancer rates decreased for cervical SCC by 1.6 percent per year during this study.

This means the mouth and throat replaced the cervix as the most common site of cancer associated with HPV infection.

Men were found to have far more oropharyngeal cancer cases than women, according to the CDC.

Oropharyngeal cancer rate increased 2.7 percent per year among men and 0.6% per year increase among women studied in this research.

Oropharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the oropharynx, which is part of the throat at the back of the mouth behind the oral cavity.

This study identified several factors which could contribute to the increase in oropharyngeal cancers including changing sexual behaviors, such as:

  • Unprotected oral sex,
  • Receptive anal sex,
  • White men reported having the highest number of lifetime oral sex partners and reported performing oral sex at a younger age compared with other racial/ethnic groups,
  • In contrast to cervical cancer screening, there currently is no U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended screening for other HPV-associated cancers,
  • Timing may also play a role in these cancer rates. HPV vaccination was included in the routine immunization program for females in 2006, and in 2011 for males.

“This vaccine is the best way to protect our youth from developing cancers caused by HPV infection,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

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“Vaccination is the key to cervical cancer elimination. I’m pleased to see parents are taking advantage of this crucial public health tool and thank the clinicians who are working to ensure all children are protected from these cancers in the future.”

In 2017, nearly 66 percent of adolescents aged 13-17 years received the first dose to start the vaccine series, and nearly 49 percent of adolescents received all the recommended doses to complete the series.

Access to HPV vaccines has become easier.

HPV vaccination services are found in most pharmacies and physician offices in the USA.

To schedule a vaccination appointment, please visit this page.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides HPV vaccine prices for general information.

And HPV vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.