Oral Sex Virus Boosts Tonsil Cancer Rates in Sweden
April 21, 2009
Since the 1970s, the number of tonsil cancer diagnoses in Sweden has tripled, and many are the result of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection spread through oral sex, say researchers. The cancer has typically been associated with smoking and heavy drinking.
"What we're seeing today is the result of infections that occurred roughly 20 years ago," said study co-author Tina Dalianis, a professor of tumor virology at the Karolinska Institute. "The prognosis is obviously better for the HPV-positive patients, but the treatment is still arduous." However, Dalianis said people with HPV-positive tumors may not need the aggressive triple-combination therapy -- chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery -- typically prescribed for tonsil cancer.
The full report, "Incidence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Positive Tonsillar Carcinoma in Stockholm, Sweden: An Epidemic of Viral-Induced Carcinoma?" was published in International Journal of Cancer (2009;doi:10.1002/ijc.24339).
04.02.2009; Michelle Fay Cortez
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.