By Pamela Tom, HPVANDME Founder
Now is the time to learn about HPV throat cancer. Every April, HPVANDME recognizes Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month by providing more education about the rise of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. The throat or “pharynx” is a muscular tube that runs from the back of the nose down into the neck. Most HPV throat cancer cases occur at the base of the tongue or tonsils.
Awareness is about learning, taking action, and healing. There is no better way to learn about the rise of HPV-related oropharyngeal or throat cancer than to hear a survivor’s own experience. Chris Martin successfully battled Stage IV HPV-positive throat cancer after being diagnosed in 2013. In 2020, he received a second throat cancer diagnosis caused by the radiation six years prior, not HPV. Chris’ doctor performed a full laryngectomy, removing his voice box and ability to talk.
In the video, Mari explains how Chris is managing without his voice and how acupuncture helped increase his saliva and quality of life. Dr. Rich Strabbing, Chris’ ENT specialist, says it is not common for radiation to cause a second cancer diagnosis. “Unfortunately cancers that were initially Stage IV at presentation are more likely to recur,” says Dr. Strabbing. “Radiation impacts swallowing, but multiple studies show that head and neck cancer patients have better swallowing and speaking outcomes with radiation over the surgical options.”
- HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection or STI.
- HPV-positive throat cancer is now the most common HPV cancer in the U.S., surpassing cervical cancer incidents.
- The HPV vaccine prevents six types of HPV cancers.
- The CDC recommends immunization for boys and girls ages 11-12, or as early as age nine.
Learn more about HPV throat cancer and prevention.