January 12, 2022 – Recent title by Fr. dramatic reduction in cervical cancer among young women as a result HPV vaccine he did not tell the whole story of how vaccination could affect many other cancers.
Even with the good news about Cervical cancer Rates are falling dramatically, HPV is still linked to a wide range of other cancers, says Daniel Kelly, PhD, co-chair of the European Cancer Organization’s HPV Action Network.
HPV has also been linked to cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva and throat, which on the rise in recent years.
As HPV vaccination in girls has already had such a profound effect on cervical cancer rates, universal HPV vaccination (boys and girls) is also expected to cause a shift in the relative rates of these other cancers, Kelly says.
“These are cancers that are difficult to treat, ”says Kelly, and they are also severe cancers in terms of the impact they can have on daily activities.
For someone with head and neck cancer, “you could deprive them of the ability to speak, to swallow ”, doc penile cancer“it is certainly very disastrous for the men she has been diagnosed with ”.
To highlight the impact of these cancers and raise awareness of universal HPV vaccination for boys and girls, the Kelly Group initiated a series of testimonies which illustrate how doctors may initially miss a diagnosis of HPV-related head and neck cancer.
Rachel Parsons, 37, a mother of five, took half a year to get diagnosis of oral cancer. She spent those 6 months driving back and forth between her family doctor and her dentist with a growing and sore mouth. ulcer.
She is still considered lucky.
After the operation, which lasted more than 9 hours, her cancer was removed. However, the following year she came and went from hospitals due to surgical complications, which burdened her marriage to her husband, firefighter Tim.
“We moved away to the thinking phase: You know what, I don’t‘I don’t want to be with you anymore, ”says Parsons.
It was only after they spoke to the minister who married them, and the fire charity organized the care of the children so they could be a few days away from their children, that the couple began to find a way to communicate.
“It was kind of a motivation to get back together after we were almost destroyed by cancer,” Parsons says. “I know so many people whose cancer has literally ruined their relationship, so we were very lucky not to let cancer beat us.”
He is now tirelessly campaigning with Oral Cancer Foundation raise awareness of HPV and related HPV oral cancer. “It‘It is very important that people are more aware of HPV and I am very active in trying to get people to listen, ”says Parsons.
Another testimony comes from Josef Mombers, who was diagnosed with HPV-related penile cancer 3 years ago, at the age of 57.
He says the worst thing he had to say to his children was that he realized that “my grandson, who was 5 months old at the time, may never have any memories of me”.
He says he went through something mourning process, and the disease and its treatment had medical, emotional, social, professional, and sexual consequences, especially after he had to undergo a penectomy.
“While sex should ideally be a mixture of physicality and intimacy, there is a clear shift towards intimacy after such an operation… both partners have to learn from scratch how to deal with the new situation, ”he says.
And yet it remains positive.
“I would tell other patients, despite the poor prognosis, you still have a chance,” he says. “A 5-year forecast of 10% means just that: 1 in 10 will still be alive after 5 years.”
“Only one, but one is, so why can‘Isn’t that you? ”
The third testimony is Jill Bourdais, an American living in Paris and a former journalist who became a psychologist. She describes how 25 sessions of radiotherapy after she was diagnosed with anal cancer in her 80s “really hit” me.
“It was really really exhausting and I ended up in the hospital for a week,” she says.
Although her husband was very supportive, she discovered that there was very little information in France, so she turned Anal Cancer Foundation for support.
The foundation was started by Tristan Almada along with his sisters, Justine and Camille, after their mother Paulette was diagnosed with stage IV anal cancer in March 2008 at just 51 years old.
“It simply came to our notice then lymph nodes“Almada says. This meant that the best treatment available at the time was “obsolete chemotherapy a cocktail from the 1970s. ”
Despite initially good results, her illness recurred and, within 6 months, “disappeared”.
The devastation of her loss soon gave way to “anger and rage” that treatment options were so limited that it forced the siblings to start a foundation.
Soon after, they learned that there was “an easy way to prevent what happened to our family from ever happening to anyone else in the world” again, and that was “universal HPV vaccination.”
This led them to understand why an organization like theirs “had to exist at all, because in theory you have this nasty thing, HPV, which causes cancer in both men and women… but also thanks to human ingenuity, you have a vaccine.”
Consequently, since 2010, the foundation has focused on promoting universal HPV vaccination, “and we have a very clear ambition, and that is to rid the world of HPV and prevent all cancers caused by HPV.”
Universal vaccination: boys as well as girls
Universal vaccination means ensuring that boys are vaccinated as much as girls.
“There is no doubt that the effectiveness of HPV vaccination has been significantly improved” by vaccinating boys, says Leslie R. Boyd, MD, director of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at NYU Langone Health.
“What happens without vaccination is that you have this group of carriers… and to ensure full protection of the population, vaccination of boys is crucial,” she says.
Obviously, boys are not at risk for cervical cancer, but they face an “extreme risk” of developing head and neck cancer due to HPV exposure, so they would “definitely benefit,” she says.
“It’s clear from an epidemiological perspective,” says Boyd, “that cervical cancer will far surpass head and neck cancer in terms of the burden of HPV cancer sometime in the next decade.”
This, she explains, is because HPV vaccination is “far more widespread” in women, while head and neck cancer as a disease “is far more prevalent among men. ”
“So there is a mismatch and there is no routine screening for head and neck cancer, so for both of these reasons we can expect an increase,” she says.