Cancer of the

Cancer of the throat, a sexually transmitted disease ?

By revealing in 2013 to have contracted throat cancer because he practiced oral sex, the american actor Michael Douglas has probably disturbed many of his contemporaries, while omitting the fact that he was also smoker and drinker! For the Pr Renaud Garrel, head of the Unit cancer head and neck-laryngology at the CHRU of Montpellier, “it is true that in the United States a tripling of the number of cancers of the oropharynx in relation to human papillomavirus (hpv) has been reported in the space of five years

In France, although there is no data as accurate, a good number of ENT specialists have also had the impression of being in front of an epidemic”. The liberalization of sexual mores would have it created from scratch a new cancer? “This print of an outbreak of cancers oropharyngeal is tempered by the fact that we know now detect the human papillomavirus (hpv), which was not the case prior to 2005, continues the Pr Garrel. However, when we seek, we find! Which strengthens us in this assumption that the throat cancer due to human papillomavirus (hpv) has always been present, it is because the sites affected by the virus are very specific: it is either the amygdala or the base of the tongue (at the level of the tissue lympho-epithelial). However, these sites are not new sites of cancer.

They were already described for a long time! Finally, it is more likely that a certain proportion of ENT cancers related to human papillomavirus (hpv) has always existed but not as we know it.

” For Dr Philippe Gorphe, of the department of surgical oncology, head and neck, Institut Gustave-Roussy, in France, where the consumption of tobacco and alcohol use remains high, we still see a large proportion of cancers of the oropharynx due to this double risk factor.

Oropharyngeal cancers caused human papillomavirus (hpv) are only 27 % to 40 % in our country (therefore in the minority), compared to 60% to 80 % in the United States, 75 % in England and 80 % in Sweden, where the cancers of head & neck original smoking are proportionally less frequent”.

A view shared by the Pr Garrel: “It is possible that oropharyngeal cancers linked to oral sex and/or to the multiplication of the partners to progress. But those who have truly exploded since a century are those related to tobacco and this explains why women are more often affected. It is especially here, the real danger!”When the human papillomavirus (hpv) – induced cancer alone (in a non-smoker, non-drinker), this is the situation less serious.

When hpv is involved, but that the cancer occurs in a smoker-drinker, the prognosis is affected. It is all the same better than when tobacco and alcohol are the only cause, because the process of carcinogenesis that follows is the most aggressive.

“The survival rate at 5 years is 85 % in the case of cancer linked to single hpv (70 % in the case of smoking associated), against 45 % in the case of cancer due to tobacco, alcohol, and without the presence of the human papillomavirus (hpv),” confirms the Pr Garrel.

Another factor of risk is less well-known: the resin of cannabis .

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