Thursday, October 16, 2008

This might get some action

It's only human nature that we often don't take problems seriously until they hit close to home. Crime is not the biggest issue in this election, for example- unless you've been mugged.

The same is true for health issues. Most people tend to think that if you eat right and don't smoke, you don't have all that much to worry about with cancer. Oh, there's enough random occurrences to keep people just sufficiently aware to drop some spare change at a booth at a fair, or buy a pink ribbon, but by and large we spend more on video games than cancer research.

But a new study may heighten the awareness, because it hits a whole lot closer to home for a whole lot of people: Doctors Say There Is a Link Between Oral Sex and Throat Cancer The link, as one might expect, is the HPV virus. "These are patients that are young. They are in their 30s and 40s. They are nonsmokers, and they don't drink alcohol excessively. And every time we look we are able to find HPV-16 in their tissue, in the biopsy specimen," said Dr. Robert Haddad, a Dana Farber Cancer Institute head and neck surgeon. ...The virus is transmitted by direct contact. You only get HPV in the location it attaches to, so it never travels through the bloodstream. So just exactly how it gets in the mouth may stun you.
"There is absolutely a link between oral sex and oral cancer," said Dr. Ellen Rome, of the Cleveland Clinic."

I've written about HPV before , in the context of providing HPV vaccines for girls sixth grade and up. But this time, it's not just women being affected. "Men are 35 percent more likely than women to develop HPV-related oral cancer, according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. But both men and women are susceptible." There was some opposition to the vaccine then, because parents didn't want to think about their kids having sex- but this time it may not be sex alone that can spread it. "Although no proof exists yet, there is a chance that HPV can be transmitted mouth to mouth. "We can't rule out the virus could be transmitted in saliva by other types of contact — like for instance sharing a drink or sharing a spoon," said Dr. Maura Gillison, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center." If that proves true, it's a scary thought. How do you like the idea of using a dental dam for a simple kiss?

Tax dollars are in short supply right now, but this is something I'd be willing to pay a little extra to combat.

1 comment:

ogre said...

U can haz amen.