HPV pushes UK oral cancer cases past 6,000 a year
The number of oral cancer cases diagnosed each year in the UK has risen above 6,000 for the first time, new figures from Cancer Research UK show today.
A decade ago there were over 4,400 cases of oral cancer. Now the latest figures show this has risen to over 6,200. Around two thirds of cases are in men.
Oral cancer rates in the UK have risen by around a quarter in the last 10 years from around six to eight cases per 100,000 people.
Experts believe that infections with high-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be a key reason for the jump in cases of oral cancer.
HPV infections are common with up to eight out of 10 people in the UK infected at some point in their lives.
Infections are usually on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. Many strains of the virus cause infections that are harmless and get better on their own. Most people will never know they had the virus.
But a few strains of HPV are known as high-risk. If these strains persist they can lead to cell changes which could develop into cancer. One of these high-risk strains is HPV-16.
Richard Shaw, a Cancer Research UK expert in head and neck cancers, based at the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre, said: We have seen a rapid increase in the number of HPV16-positive cases of oral cancer. We have also noticed that patients with HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger, are less likely to be smokers and have better outcomes from treatment than those whose tumours show no evidence of HPV.
This raises questions as to exactly how these cancers develop and why they only affect a small proportion of people who are exposed.
As HPV-related cancers appear to behave quite differently, the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre is also involved in Cancer Research UK-funded clinical trials to improve treatments.
Traditionally, the main risk factors for oral cancer have been tobacco and alcohol. Oral cancers tend to take at least a decade to develop so looking at lifestyles 20 to 30 years ago can help understand the rise in cases.
Over the last 30 years, smoking rates in Britain have more than halved.
And while figures show that the amount of alcohol bought in the UK over the last 20 years has increased by 7 per cent this is unlikely to be a large enough increase to explain fully the rise in the rates of oral cancers.
Experts say this suggests other risk factors may be playing a role in particular HPV.
There were particularly sharp rises in the incidence rates of cancers at the base of the tongue (almost 90 per cent increase) and the tonsil (around 70 per cent increase) two areas of the mouth where cancers are more commonly HPV-related.
Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: Its worrying to see such a big rise in oral cancer rates. But like many other cancers, if oral cancer is caught early, there is a better chance of successful treatment.
So its really important for people to know the signs and symptoms of oral cancer - mainly mouth ulcers that just wont heal, any lumps or thickening in the mouth, lips or throat, or red or white patches in the mouth that wont go away.
Its not just doctors who have a vital role to play. If youre worried about any of these symptoms you can see your dentist as well.
Dentists have an important role to play in spotting oral cancer early and encouraging their patients to take care of their mouths. So make sure you attend regular dental check-ups.
More information: Parkin, D M et al., - The Fraction of Cancer Attributable to Lifestyle and Environmental Factors in the UK in 2010 (British Journal of Cancer 2011) doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.474
Provided by Cancer Research UK
- Human Papilloma Virus vaccines may decrease chances of oral cancer Aug 30, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Oral HPV infection, HPV-related cancers more common in men Jan 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Virus that causes genital warts linked to oral cancer: study Oct 13, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- British boozing blamed for rise in oral cancer rates Aug 11, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Research indicates need for effective HPV vaccine for women and men and a simple HPV screening test Nov 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A new study conducted using extensive medical records of over one million Israeli adolescents before military service shows clearly how exposure to the Israeli sun of young, light-skinned children increases substantially ...
Cancer 22 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A new measure of the heterogeneity – the variety of genetic mutations – of cells within a tumor appears to predict treatment outcomes of patients with the most common type of head and neck cancer. In the May 20 issue ...
Cancer 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have developed a promising method to distinguish between pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis—two disorders that are difficult to tell apart. A molecular marker obtained from pancreatic ...
Cancer 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
Cancer May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
Cancer May 19, 2013 | not rated yet | 1
When tumours metastasise, they can block lymphatic vessels, as researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered using a new method. The lymphatic fluid subsequently has to find a new path through the tissue. Such ...
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Flinders University researchers are breaking new ground in a decade-long journey to pinpoint the function of two closely related proteins.
3 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Every 20 seconds, a limb is lost as a consequence of diabetic foot ulcer that does not heal. To date, medical solutions that can change this situation are very limited. In his doctoral thesis Yue Shen from the Industrial ...
13 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—The feared Legionella pneumophila is responsible for legionellosis, an infectious disease that can lead to pneumonia. To infect humans, this pathogen has developed a complex method that allows it to camouflage ...
23 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Finnish researchers have shown that genetic marker information can improve risk evaluation of coronary heart disease. The study comprised over 24,000 Finnish subjects and was led by Professor Samuli Ripatti. The results revealed ...
20 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A powerful new way of imaging kidneys is providing scientists with insights into the importance of the body's filtering system and how it is affected by cardiovascular disease, stroke and ...
23 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0