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Study: Oropharyngeal cancer on the rise in young adults
Date:1/29/2014

the risk of oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer independently of tobacco and alcohol use, two other important risk factors for the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer has been growing in recent years due to increasing rates of HPV infection. This has been largely attributed to changes in sexual practices. Studies have shown, however, patients with HPV related head and neck cancer do have a better prognosis and survival.

For the Henry Ford study, Dr. Siddiqui and his colleagues used the SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results) database to gather information about adults younger than age 45 who had been diagnosed with invasive squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer between1973 and 2009.

Since SEER does not record HPV information, the researchers used tumor grade as a surrogate indicator of HPV infection.

Among the study group of more than 1,600 patients, 90 percent were ages 36-44 and the majority (73 percent) was Caucasian.

During the 36-year period, the majority of patients (50-65 percent) underwent surgical resection for their tumors. Patients who had both surgery and radiation therapy had the highest five-year survival rate.

"These patients have a favorable prognosis and are likely to live longer while dealing with treatment related side-effects that may impact their quality of life," notes Dr. Siddiqui.

The five-year survival for the study group was 54 percent. There was no difference in survival based on gender. African Americans, however, had significantly poor survival compared to other races.

"The predominance of oropharyngeal cancer in this age group suggests either non-sexual modes of HPV transfer at a younger age or a shortened latency period between infection and development of cancer," says Dr. Siddiqui.


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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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