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Alcohol, smoking and HPV: risk factors for head and neck cancer

Alcohol, smoking and HPV: risk factors for head and neck cancer

Attention to symptoms and early diagnosis are important factors in the fight against the disease that affects 40,000 people annually in Brazil

Photo by Dr. Leticia France Clinical Oncologist Oncomed-MT (Reproductive)

“Cancer is in your face, but sometimes you don’t see it.” The alert is the main message of the campaign developed by the Brazilian Association of Head and Neck Cancer (ACBG Brazil) on the occasion of Julho Verde, Disease Prevention Month, which is celebrated on Tuesday, 27, its main milestone. According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), the country records, every year, about 40 thousand new cases of head and neck cancer. Alcohol and smoking top the rankings of causes, having, in recent years, acquired the “companionship” of HPV as a risk factor, especially among young people.

Head and neck tumors affect the mouth, throat, thyroid gland, thyroid gland, larynx, pharynx, trachea, and the so-called nasolacrimal region, which includes the nose and sinuses. Consumption of alcohol and smoking can increase the chances of getting sick by up to 20 times, with adopting healthy habits and maintaining good oral hygiene as important preventive measures. However, not ignoring the signs and symptoms is essential to treatment. “Often, the patient takes a long time to find a doctor, and when he gets to the appointment, the tumor is already at an advanced stage, which negatively affects treatment and even favors the consequences,” notes Dr. Leticia France, clinical oncologist Oncomed-MT.

Letícia explains that situations such as lesions in the mouth that have occurred for more than two weeks that do not heal, lumps in the neck area, persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness should not be neglected. More than half of the cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed late in Brazil. However, when the diagnosis is early, with the tumor at an early stage, the chances of recovery are close to 80%,” he emphasizes.

HPV – Of the 150 known types of human papillomavirus (HPV), 13 are considered neoplastic, that is, capable of causing cancer. It is mainly transmitted by sex, and is a risk factor for cancer in the area called the oropharynx (the base of the tongue, the tonsils, the side part, and the back of the throat).
One form of infection with this infection is unprotected oral sex and sexual intercourse with multiple partners. A survey conducted by the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC) showed that 59% of the population do not use condoms as a measure of cancer prevention and nearly 30% are unaware of the direct relationship between use and reduced risk of disease.

According to the Ministry of Health (MS), it is estimated that about 54.6% of Brazilians between the ages of 16 and 25 are infected with HPV, and in 38.4% of them, these are high-risk subtypes associated with some cancers, such as head and neck cancer.
Regarding HPV, it is always important to remember that there is a vaccine. It is primarily indicated for the prevention of cervical cancer, but it can also – potentially – prevent cancer of the head and neck, especially in boys and girls,” notes Letícia França, noting that the immunizing agent is available through the Unified Health System.) which was expanded Scope in March this year ( 45 years old)
Treatment – When diagnosing head and neck cancer, the clinical oncologist determines, according to the stage of the disease, the treatment to be approved, which may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy.
About Oncomed – a clinic specializing in the multidisciplinary treatment of cancer Oncomed-MT was founded 25 years ago in the capital of Mato Grosso. With a solid track, Oncomed-MT has respected and experienced medical staff, the clinic is equipped with high technology and operates under the strictest biosafety protocols. Oncomed-MT, 25 Years Old For Life!

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