A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has pointed to a staggering disparity in the prevalence of the human papillomavirus (HPV)—the number one risk factor for cervical cancer—between men and women. Nationwide, the rates of oral HPV infection are noticeably higher for men (11.5%, or 11 million individuals) than in women (3.2 % or 3.2 million individuals). Ashish Deshmukh, a senior author of the study, told Fox 59 about the possible reasons for the drop-off:
“One suspects that the HPV persists longer (means doesn’t clear easily) among men and that might be causing increased prevalence… It is also possible that men acquire oral HPV more readily than women. Further research is needed to understand the reason behind this.”
Between 2008 and 2012, there were 38,793 cases of HPV-related cancer. 59 percent of the cases were in women, 41 percent in men. According to the CDC, HPV is known to cause most cervical cancers as well as certain cancers of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, rectum, and oropharynx. (This cancer is hitting millennials particularly hard.) Three HPV vaccines, Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix, are approved by the FDA.
“We cannot take this HPV infection lightly because it does not discriminate. You can develop all of these types of cancers that are associated with HPV,” Eva McGhee, an assistant professor at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science said via Fox 59. “What’s important is, we need to look at other types of preventative strategies or treatments for the older people.”
McGee went on to note that some form of HPV will be encountered by 85 percent of the population in their lifetime. The survey was conducted by the CDC and involved laboratory tests for 37 types of HPV and an interview. (In other cancer-related news, this form of cancer treatment can double your risk of death.)
[Source: Fox 59]