You likely think of cervical cancer when you hear about the rising incidence of human papilloma virus (HPV).
So you might be surprised to learn that this sexually-transmitted virus is also a leading cause of throat cancer (oropharyngeal cancer), and it spreads from person to person via oral sex.
Though oral cancers have long been linked to smoking, head and neck surgeon Brandon Prendes, MD, says current research shows that HPV is directly related to some throat cancers. In fact, these cancers are on the rise, and soon will outpace new cervical cancer cases, he says.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, there are 18,000 new cases of throat cancer diagnosed annually that are potentially related to HPV. About 10% of men and 4% of women have oral HPV, but only about 1% have the particular type associated with throat cancer: HPV 16.
Most of the time, HPV goes away all by itself and most people never know they have it. It’s not yet understood why HPV lingers in others for decades, potentially causing throat cancer.
What are the risks?
The No. 1 risk in contracting oral HPV and developing HPV-related throat cancer is having multiple oral sex partners, Dr. Prendes says. Having a higher number of partners increases the risk for both men and women.
Women experience less HPV-related throat cancer, researchers say, because they may have developed an immunological response to fight off cervical cancer. Men don’t have the same immunity.
Smoking also raises the risk of developing throat cancer and decreases the response to treatment in patients that are diagnoses with HPV-related throat cancer, Dr. Prendes says. You’re at greatest risk if you smoke at least a pack a day for 10 years.
How do you limit your risks?
Here Dr. Prendes offers five ways to help you limit your risk of HPV-related throat cancer:
Limit your number of lifetime sexual partners. The increase in risk involved with greater numbers of sexual partners is even greater for oral sexual partners. Also, use condoms or dental dams consistently for some protection.
Get children and young adults vaccinated. For males and females between ages 9 and 45, a three-round HPV vaccine can ward off HPV infection and likely will lead to decreased risk of developing these HPV- related cancers.
Get screened. Regular screening increases the chances you’ll catch a tumor early. Your doctor will feel your neck, examine your throat and inspect your mouth.
Visit your dentist. Get regular dental checkups because dentists are often the first practitioners to notice abnormalities with the tongue and tonsils.
Limit smoking and alcohol. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption to cut your risk.
What symptoms should you watch for?
HPV-related throat cancer symptoms can often go largely overlooked, Dr. Prendes says, because they’re difficult to recognize and categorize. If any of the symptoms lasts beyond two weeks, see your doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist. The symptoms include:
Neck mass or swelling.
Painful swallowing (like something is stuck in the back of your throat.
Snoring (as a new issue, without sudden weight gain).
Vocal changes (hoarseness).
Enlarged lymph nodes.
Unexplained weight loss.
HPV oral cancers slow to develop, but quick to spread
HPV-related cancers spread quickly to the lymph nodes. It’s not that the tumors spread quickly due to issues with the immune system — they spread quickly for unknown reasons. However, they show up first as large swollen lymph nodes because the body has an immune response at the site of the lymph nodes once tumor reaches this area, causing swelling and a noticeable neck mass, Dr. Prendes says.
So, these cancers are often diagnosed when they have already spread to lymph nodes in the neck. However, the good news is due to the excellent response of these HPV-related throat cancers to treatment, even a patient with multiple lymph nodes in the neck containing cancer will still fall into Stage 1 or Stage 2 disease, according to the newest version of the AJCC cancer staging system.
It can take up to 30 years for HPV-related throat cancer to appear, making it most common in adults between the ages of 40 and 60. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports it’s growing fastest among otherwise healthy men, ages 35 to 55.
Dr. Prendes says researchers have developed a clinical test that searches for the P16 molecular marker in biopsy samples, a marker that indicates HPV-related cancer. Successful treatment and cure rates are high if you know what to look for and know your risk, he says.
Overall, HPV-related throat cancers respond well to surgery and radiation. Between 90 and 95% of diagnosed cases have five-year, disease-free survivorship rates, he says.
Although researchers are still learning more about HPV-related throat cancer, the verdict about whether HPV is truly to blame is in, Dr. Prendes says.
“I don’t think anyone in our field or any epidemiologist would argue the link between HPV and throat cancer at this point,” he says. “It’s a strong link.”
Covid-19: Dr. Aisha Buhari Lauds Jack Ma, AliBaba Foundations For Donating Relief Materials
The commitment of Mr. Jack Ma, through the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to the global battle against COVID-19 has been commended by the First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari.
She made the commendation while receiving a consignment of COVID-19 related items such as face masks on Wednesday 18th November, 2020 at the ABF Secretariat, Abuja.
A statement by Aliyu Abdullah,
Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity (Office of the First Lady), said Mrs. Buhari noted that the two foundations and their founder Mr. Jack Ma is duly recognized worldwide for their contributions in the areas of women leadership, entrepreneurship, Education and medical intervention.
These, she said, are areas of core competence of Aisha Buhari Foundation and Future Assured, where great success has been recorded.
“I do therefore express my appreciation to the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation on behalf of the women and children of Nigeria, and promise that the items will be used judiciously.”
Presenting the items to Mrs. Buhari, Special Assistant to the President on Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) Mr. Mohammed Albishir, said the consignment of assorted face masks, were delivered by the two foundations to OAFLAD for onward distribution to nations currently battling the novel virus across Africa. Nigeria, he said, is one of the deliveries made, saying the items are for distribution in Nigeria, especially to people living in remote areas.
NASACA Seeks Assembly’s Support For More Funding In The Fight Against The Spread Of HIV/AIDs In The State
The Nasarawa State Aids Control Agency (NASACA), has advocated for an effective collaboration with the Nasarawa State House of Assembly through increase in budgetary allocation towards achieving effective implementation of the State anti- stigmatization law.
The Executive Director, NASACA Dr. Ruth Bello made the appeal when the agency paid a courtesy visit to the Nasarawa State House of Assembly Standing Committee on Health in Lafia today.
Bello said that increasing budgetary allocation for HIV/AIDs would not only tackle stigmatisation but would also tackle the menace in the state.
Bello disclosed that this year alone, out of the twenty two thousand HIV positive persons (22,000) who are not on drugs, the agency has succeeded in tracing and placing back on drugs over fifteen thousand pesons (15,000).
She thanked the committee members for being up and doing in supporting the activities of the Agency and appealed for more funding in the fight against the spread of HIV and Aids in the state.
Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Usman Labaran Shafa thanked the Executive Director, and the entire members of the Agency for the visit and urged them to remain focuse in the fight and control of the spread of HIV in the State.
Labaran Shafa, who was represented by Hon. Suleiman Abdulaziz Danladi noted that the committee will always put in it’s best for the agency to succeed.
“Ours is to make laws and pass resolutions that will touch our people positively and this law was passed in the state. It is now the responsibility of not just the executive arm of government but all of us to ensure effective implementation of the State anti- stigmatization law,” he said.
He equally called on the agency to redouble it’s efforts on the areas of sensitization and awareness campaign aimed at controlling the spread of the disease in the state.
The chairman also assured the agency of adequate support to succeed.
Nasarawa To Extends Maternity Leave To Six Months, To Encourage And Improve Exclusive Breastfeeding Of Infant Babies
In a bid to ensure the babies get needed nutrients for proper upbringing, the Nasarawa State Government through Commissioner for Health, Hon. Pharm. Ahmed Baba Yahaya, has said maternity leave will be extended to Six Months to encourage and improve the exclusive breastfeeding among working class mothers as well as to provide the babies with the needed nutrients for the first 1000 days of their lives.
A press statement issue on Thursday by Musa Abdullah Information officer, Ministry of Health, said the Commissioner made the disclosure while playing host to Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) who paid him an advocacy visit at his office, Lafia, the State capital.
He described the extension of maternity leave for civil servants from four months to six months as an investment in human capital development and will go along way to address the issue of Malnutrition in children in the State.
According to him, as an emergency Action Plan, the Ministry of Health will write a Leave Bill to the Governor for onward transmitting to the State House of Assembly to make it as a law.
The Bill will provides for six months of maternity leave for women and
government will translate the pronouncement of the approves six months of maternity leave into law to ensure sustainability.
“This will ensure the survival, healthy growth, and development of the child into an intelligent, innovative, and creative adult that will contribute to the development of the state and the nation. He added.
The government, with the support of development partners is equally implementing Community management of Acute Malnutrition, Infant and Young Child Feeding intervention.
“All these are in a bid to improve the nutrition status of women and children in the state,’’ He said.
Earlier the leader of the deligation and Chairperson of CS-SUNN Nasarawa State Mrs. Mercy Aso said the are advocating for extension of six months Maternity Leave for Civil Servants in the State.
According to her, this step will encourage and improve the six months of exclusive breastfeeding among working mothers to provide the babies with the needed nutrients for the first 1,000 days of their lives.
She also said “This will ensure the survival, healthy growth, and development of the child.
Mrs.Asso maintained that the extension will equally help the full recovery of women after childbirth and support them to breastfeed their children exclusively for six months without any fear of losing their jobs.
“The maternity leave will further ensure effective access to quality maternal healthcare, thereby contributing to the health and well-being of mothers and their babies.
She commended the Nasarawa State Government for improving on its Malnutrition status especially on the policy strategies which She identified some of these policies, strategies, and plans to include State Policy on Food and Nutrition, State Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition, and State Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Strategy.
“Others are State Multi-Sectorial Strategic Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition, She also appreciated the effort of the State in ensuring that all lines MDAs that implement nutrition activities have budget while appealing for timely release of funds to enable them to fastrack activities as expected.
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