In the last 20 years, rapid screening and the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine have led to a decline in the cases of cervical cancer in the US. However, a new study has shown that the achievement is offset by an increase in other forms of tumors that are caused by this virus. Experts have said that oral sex might be adding fuel to increasing cases of mouth and throat cancers in the US, especially among men. The team of experts has claimed that anal cancer and a rare form of rectal cancer that are caused by the human papillomavirus might be more frequent among older women by 2025. Dr. Maura Gillison from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has said that people have this common notion that the HPV vaccine might be a sure shot solution for all forms of cancer caused by the human papillomavirus but sadly, that is not the case. Dr. Maura Gillison has not been involved in the new study. Health experts have said that HPV is the most common infection in the US that spreads through sexual contact. The findings of the study have been released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Experts will present the findings of the new study at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as well, which is going to take place next month.
Health experts have said that the majority of HPV infections do not show any major symptoms and fade away on their own without any treatment. However, some cases of HPV lead to genital warts and turn into cancers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that around 35900 cases are diagnosed each year in the US. The US government has recommended the HPV vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12 years since 2006. The government has recommended the HPV vaccine for boys of the same age in 2011. Health officials have suggested that adults who are above 26 years of age and have not been vaccinated for HPV should take catch-up shots. Experts have said that it will take years to see the true impact of HPV vaccine coverage. They have said that it takes decades for a chronic HPV infection to develop into cancer. The authors of the study have said that the youthful sexual behavior of baby boomers before the vaccine has come into existence might have fueled the trend of HPV cancer. Health experts have said that vaccines are effective when it is given at tender age before people are exposed to the virus through sexual contact. The vaccine has arrived too late for the boomers. Dr. Ernest Hawk, who is a cancer prevention specialist at MD Anderson has said that sexual trends have started changing and started to become more liberal in the late 1960s. It has remained the same through the 1970s and 1980s until the HPV epidemic has arrived. The epidemic has led people to be more cautious about their sexual behavior. Dr. Ernest Hawk has not been involved in the new study. He has said that during the growing years of the HPV epidemic, people have been interacting with multiple partners and having different types of sexual interactions.
Scientists from the US and Taiwan have observed the US cancer statistics from 2001 to 2017. They have found that there have been more than 657000 incidents of HPV-related cancer. Around 60 percent of women and 40 percent of men have been dealing with such kinds of cancer in the US during this time. Although cases of cervical cancer have reduced by 1 percent, other types of cancers have seen a sharp rise. The study has shown that among men, oral and throat cancers have shot up the most. There has been an increase of 3 percent each year, said the experts. The lead author of the study, Dr. Cheng-I Liao has said that the biggest decline in cervical cancer has been seen among young women, who might have been vaccinated with the HPV vaccine in their preteens. The authors of the study have said that it seems that the HPV vaccine has been effective in preventing infection. They have said that pap tests as well have played a crucial role in bringing down the numbers of cervical cancer for decades. However, no screening test is available for other forms of cancers that are caused by HPV. HPV vaccine rollout has increased before the COVID19 pandemic has and cases of COVID19 have started shooting up in the US. Experts have said that the HPV vaccine has been able to prevent oral infections in men as well. On the other hand, HPV vaccine rollout has slowed down during nationwide lockdowns. Many families have not been able to attend their doctors’ appointments. The lead author of the study has said that vaccination among middle and high school students will help doctors to spread awareness about HPV immunization as well.