Most head and neck cancers decline
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 17, 2007
Carcinomas of the head and neck have gone down, primarily because of reductions in the number of people who smoke, while cancers of the tongue and tonsils have generally leveled off. In some populations, however, the latter have increased, and experts suspect this may be due to the human papillomavirus, according to a review published in the Oct. 1 Cancer.
Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston analyzed trends in smoking and these types of cancers. The number of current and former smokers has changed little in the past decade, although the number of people who have never been regular smokers has increased dramatically. Smoking-related cancers have declined, but those of the tongue and tonsils have not. Such cancers have actually increased in men younger than 45, many of whom have never used tobacco.
In order to reverse this trend, the authors advocate expanding HPV vaccination to include younger men. "We fear that vaccination programs limited to females will only delay the potential benefit in prevention of HPV 16/18-associated oropharyngeal cancers, which typically occur in men," the authors wrote.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2007/09/17/hlbf0917.htm.