Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is now the most common HPV-associated cancer in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that covers the years 1999 to 2015.
During that period, cervical cancer dropped from being the top HPV-associated cancer and oropharyngeal SCC took its place as a result of cervical cancer screening.
The uptick in oropharyngeal SCC could be due in part to “changing sexual behaviors,” including unprotected oral sex, especially among white men, who report having the highest number of sexual partners and performing oral sex at a younger age compared with other racial/ethnic groups.
The authors point out HPV causes cervical cancer and “some oropharyngeal, vulvar, vaginal, penile, and anal cancers.”
The study authors say that the public health implication of the study is that HPV vaccination “can prevent infection with the HPV types most strongly associated with cancer.”
Talk to your physician about HPV vaccination.