Dr. Vokes on HPV-Related Head and Neck Cancer
Everett E. Vokes, MD, Giant of Cancer Care in the Head and Neck Cancer Category, John E. Ultmann Professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology, Physician-in-Chief, University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, discusses HPV-related head and neck cancer
As smoking rates in the U.S. have decreased, Vokes says, so has the number of cases of head and neck cancers associated with classic risk factors. However, there has been an emergence of HPV-driven tumors that are affecting the base of the tongue and the tonsils.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that affects males to females in a 3:1 ratio, Vokes says. The virus attacks the oropharynx and the base of the tongue.
Vokes says the patients with HPV receive similar treatment to patients with head and neck cancer induced by classic risk factors but the prognosis and cure rate of the patients with HPV are much higher. The oncology community has begun to question the need to be as aggressive in the treatment of HPV-related head and neck cancer.