Thursday, October 13, 2016

HPV-related oral cancers may affect older men, maybe older gay men disproportonately

The Oct. 2006 issue of the AARP Bulletin has an informative article on the risk of HPV-induced cancers for older men.  The article by Peter Janet is here.

Carcinomas of the tonsil and back of the tongue have been attributed to human papilloma virus. They seem to appear several decades after infection, after the virus has been dormant, as the immune system weakens during age.  It would be logical if it were more common with HIV+ men, but that isn’t always true.  Men who had childhood tonsillectomies might be less exposed.

Oral sex may increase the risk of HPV-associated cancers later in life, but this could include oral sex among heterosexuals as well (both sides).  Anal sex may increase the risk of HPV-associated squamous cell cancer in the anus, also.

It’s logical to wonder if HPV (along with some unusual cellular immune defect) could be implicated in other cancers, such as the bizarre thyroid cancer that killed Roger Ebert, or even something like pancreatic cancer.  
I had a plantar’s wart cauterized on the sole of my foot twice in ninth grade (painful to get the novocaine shot).  Then it didn’t come back.  I think probably my immune system had simply learned to control the virus.  But the virus had probably been transmitted along lockerroom and shower floors.

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