Michael Douglas, HPV, and Throat Cancer
By Candace Y.A. Montague
June 3, 2013
So Michael Douglas got throat cancer from performing oral sex. Or not. Or maybe. It's debateable right now. The first report revealed that his battle with throat cancer nearly three years ago spurred from possible exposure to human papilloma virus (HPV). He stated in an interview with the Guardian that oral sex caused throat cancer. More recent reports claim that the 68 year-old actor did not say that oral sex caused his cancer specifically but was a potential cause of it. Semantics aside, the mere mention of HPV, cancer, and a famous movie star in the same sentence causesthe media circuit to light up and presents a time for a teachable moment. Now before everyone freaks out and temporarily swears off oral sex, let's examine what HPV is and how it relates to throat cancer.
What Is HPV Anyway?
The basic facts about human papilloma virus according to the Center for Disease Control are
Is Throat Cancer Deadly?
I'm sure most people hear the words cancer and freaked out because they believe it automatically leads to death. I suspected that any form of cancer that is left untreated can be deadly. I "live chatted" with a specialist from the American Cancer Society to confirm my suspicion. The specialist said, "Yes, oral and oropharyngeal cancer can be deadly especially in the later stages. The later the stage the poorer the prognosis." However, if detected early, it can be treated (Mr. Douglas is living proof of that).
So Now What?
There area few lessons to be learned from this hot topic.
If you think you have been exposed to a Sexually Transmitted Infection of any kind, there is help for you in the District. Visit the Southeast Clinic on the campus of DC General Hospital on Massachusetts Avenue. Click here for more information.
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Candace Y.A. Montague
Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.
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