Hi there guys. Today news agencies have been buzzing with Michael Douglas attributing his 2010 diagnosis with throat cancer to infection with HPV, a virus associated with common warts and cervical cancer.
While the biggest causes of throat cancer are smoking and consuming alcohol there is a percentage of head and neck cancers associated with HPV infection. Of cancers thought to be caused by HPV risk factors include increased numbers of sexual partners, having performed oral sex (for both men and women). One type of cancer at the base of the tongue appears to have increased rates in only women and men who have sex with men.
There has been some research hinting that HIV infection increased the risk of HPV oral cancers however this appears to be more due to the time that these men were born rather then HIV infection.
Good news is that increased use of HPV vaccine for gay men has been shown to reduce oral and anal cancers as well as genital warts.
For all younger gay men I highly recommend considering getting vaccinated for the HPV to help reduce the risk of cancers and warts. While it is understood older gay men may not gain the full benefit of the vaccine due to having been likely exposed to HPV the data is still not fully clear if there is any benefit or not.
The best advice is that the earlier a person is vaccinated for HPV the better. I highly recommend talking to your doctor about treatment options.
Have you had the HPV vaccine? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Yours in good health,