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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HPV Is A Sexually-Transmitted Form of Cancer -- And Guess Whose Most At Risk? Men!

HPV is a Sexually-Transmitted Cancer

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It is considered an STD, or sexually-transmitted disease, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are more than 40 different types of HPV, and they affect both women and men.

Men are more susceptible to oropharyngeal cancer, a HPV-type cancer that affects the base of the tongue, tonsils, mouth, throat and larynx. In fact, from 2005 to 2009, more than four times as many men developed oropharyngeal cancer than women. HPV16 is associated with the growing increase of oropharyngeal cancer.

There are four types of men who are particularly at risk for HPV 16:

1. Men who smoke

Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of oral HPV in men. Compared to men who never smoked, the risk is three times higher in those who currently smoke and two times higher for former smokers.

2.  Men who drink

Seven out of ten patients with oral cancer drink heavily. Heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing oropharyngeal cancers. The risk is even higher in patients who drink heavily and smoke.

3. African-American Men

Men can be either HPV positive or negative. African American men are more likely to be HPV negative, and HPV negative patients have 2.7 times the risk of death as HPV positive patients. The result is a significantly poorer survival rate for HPV negative African Americans.

4. Men who engage in risky behavior

High-risk sexual behavior can increase the risk of HPV infection and oropharyngeal cancer. High risk includes bisexual behavior, sex with multiple partners, and oral sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control,  HPV-related cancers in the U.S. increased from 1973-2003, particularly among young males. It is believed the cause is related to changes in smoking habits and sexual behavior.

Marital status and sexual orientation can be directly related to the increased likelihood of men engaging in risky sexual behaviors and partnerships.
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