HPV-Oral Cancer Link Spotlights Health Disparities Among Men | Business Wire

PHILADELPHIA–()–An emerging new type of oral cancer in men has increased over the last

15 years.<sup>1</sup> The culprit is human papillomavirus (HPV), and key

social factors are contributing to its growth. April is Oral Cancer

Awareness Month, and with the ongoing rise in cases of throat cancer

linked to HPV,<sup>2</sup> many medical and dental professionals are

encouraging the public to take measures in an effort to help prevent

this form of cancer.


<p style="text-align: center"> who closely studies oral diseases relative to people of

color. “That is one reason the death rate associated with oral and

oropharyngeal cancers for men remains high – these cancers often are

discovered too late.” In the case of HPV-related throat cancer – which

actually surpasses the annual incidence rate for cervical cancer — men

outpace women by 4-1.4

HPV is believed to be the cause of 70 percent of throat cancer in the

United States.5 Approximately 11,000 people, or 4.8 percent

who contract the disease, will die from it this year.6 These

cancers are more likely for some racial and ethnic groups, and are also

impacted by socioeconomic status.7

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the

five-year survival rate for oral cancer is about 61 percent for whites,

but only 36 percent for African Americans.8 “Socio-economic

factors are often connected to poor oral health as they hinder one’s

ability to be able to afford and keep dental insurance, or pay out of

pocket to see their dentist regularly, a critical factor in maintaining

proper oral health,” said Andrea Gelzer, MD, MS, FACP, senior vice

president of Medical Affairs for AmeriHealth Caritas. “Other factors

such as limiting tobacco and alcohol use, maintaining a healthy diet and

making sure to have regular health screenings all may help prevent oral

cancer, or to catch it early enough so that it may be treated.”

“Early detection is critical, said Larry Paul, DDS, vice president

Corporate Dental at AmeriHealth Caritas. “Visiting the dentist for

regular x-rays, exams and cleanings has always been recommended, but

today those visits are crucial for facilitating overall health. It also

speaks to the importance of the integration and collaboration of medical

and dental providers in creating solutions for a serious health problem.”

While not all oral cancers can be prevented, there are ways to reduce

the risk:9

  1. Avoid human papillomavirus infection.
    HPV is

    strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancers. The risk of getting

    oral cancer from human papillomavirus is increased in those who have

    oral sex and multiple partners. The CDC recommends that all children

    who are 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to

    12 months apart before they become sexually active.10

  2. Limit smoking and drinking.
    Smoking increases the risk of

    getting oral cancer. The longer one uses tobacco, the greater the odds

    are for getting cancer. Smokeless tobacco carries a risk as well.

    Limiting alcohol is also a great way to reduce the risk of getting

    oral cancer.

  3. Eat a healthy diet.
    A poor diet has been linked to oral

    cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends a diet that emphasizes

    plant foods, whole grains and more fish, poultry and beans, instead of

    processed and red meats, is best.

  4. Be sure to see a dentist and doctor for check ups.

    regular checkups is one of the best ways to maintain good health.

About AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies

Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for

those most in need. Operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia,

AmeriHealth Caritas serves more than 5 million Medicaid, Medicare and

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its

integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and

specialty pharmacy services. Behavioral health services.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven

organization with more than 35 years of experience serving low-income

and chronically ill populations. AmeriHealth Caritas is part of the

Independence Health Group in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of

Michigan. For more information, visit .



<sup>1</sup> Dermatology Times. “The rise of oral cancer. “Accessed Feb.

22, 2019.

4 Study Finds. “Growing threat to Men? Study Finds 45% Of

Adults Males Infected With HPV.” Accessed March 11, 2019.



<sup>5</sup> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “HPV and

Oropharyngeal Cancer.” Accessed March 8, 2019.

8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Oral Health.”

Accessed Feb. 6, 2019.



<sup>9</sup> American Cancer Society. “Can Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal

Cancers Be Prevented?” Accessed Feb. 6, 2019.



<sup>10</sup> CDC. “HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen.”

Accessed March 25, 2019.

Scott D. Bluebond
[email protected]