Head and Neck Cancers Are on the Rise— and Younger Men Are at Risk

Head and Neck Cancers Are on the Rise— and Younger Men Are at Risk

Nov 10 2017

You’ve probably heard of human papilloma virus, or HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection in America, according to the CDC.

For a long time, experts knew that HPV could raise a woman’s risk for cervical cancer. But there didn’t appear to be much risk for HPV-infected men. That’s changed. New research shows HPV is fueling a massive spike in oropharyngeal (head and neck) cancer among men. And surprisingly, some doctors say this form of cancer is showing up more and more among guys in their 20s and 30s.

“Traditionally, we thought of head and neck cancers as mostly due to excessive smoking and drinking,” says Brett Comer, M.D., an assistant professor of otolaryngology, as well as a surgeon, at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Comer says that in the past, these cancers tended to show up during a man’s 50s, 60s, and beyond. “But for the past 20 years, we’ve seen those smoking- and drinking-related cancers go down, while HPV-related cancers have gone up,” he says.

Source: Men's Health Men's Health