Traditionally, head and neck cancers have been diagnosed most in individuals over the age of 50. But there has been a recent change in who is being affected by these specific diseases.
In fact, patients these days are 5-10 years younger than traditional head/neck cancer patients.
Smoking and alcohol abuse are obvious contributing factors, but HPV (the virus that causes cervical cancer) has also become a high-risk factor as well.
It's estimated that 50 percent of sexually active men and women carry the virus.
The good news is that cancer cells caused by HPV respond much better to treatment options than those cancer cells proliferated by other activities (such as smoking).
If you're already infected with HPV, the vaccine will not help you. This is why it is so essential to vaccinate at a young age, in both girls and boys.
Dr. Vikas Mehta joins Dr. Leigh to discuss the increasing risk of HPV-related head and neck cancers, as well as ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.