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Head and neck cancer is now the 6th most common type of cancer in Europe
The British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists is using the Make Sense campaign to raise awareness of the fact the head and neck cancer is now the sixth most common type of cancer in Europe.
Rise reported in the number of head and neck cancers, says BAHNO surgeon
A surgeon in North West London is reporting a rise in the number of patients with head and neck cancer. This is being highlighted as part of Make Sense, a national awareness week.
The condition – traditionally associated with older men who are heavy drinkers and smokers – is increasingly affecting younger males in their 40s and 50s.
Mr Bhavin Visavadia, a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Northwick Park Hospital, said: “There has been a noticeable increase in recent years and oropharyngeal cancer can be triggered by contracting the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is a common cause of cervical cancer in women.
“Oral sex is the obvious candidate for transmission to men as the virus is found in the female cervix.”
Research in the Annals of Oncology showed 15% of men who smoked and had five or more oral sex partners were most likely to get HPV, while 7% of men who smoke and have had two to four oral partners contract the infection.
The lowest risk group were those who had one or no oral sex partners in their lifetimes, with only 1.5% of them getting an oral HPV infection. This rises to 4% among non-smokers with two to four oral sex partners.
Mr Visavadia added: “Women are routinely immunised against HPV for cervical cancer and recent legislative changes will now see men receive a jab as well to prevent HPV related head and neck cancer.”
Northwick Park Hospital, which is the regional centre of excellence for head and neck cancer surgery and reconstruction, carries out more than 200 procedures a year.
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