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Head and Neck Cancer Becoming More Common in Younger Demographics

Summary: HPV is a major contributing factor to head and neck cancer, resulting in increased diagnoses in the younger population.
Air Date: 4/25/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Vikas Mehta, MD
Dr. Vikas Mehta is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at Louisiana State University. Dr. Mehta is Board Certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and has completed fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology/Robotic-Assisted Head and Neck Surgery. He is the Director of Robotic Head and Neck Surgery and the co-Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology. He has authored over 20 articles and chapters and has presented at various national specialty meetings. Dr. Mehta currently serves on the Endocrine Surgery and Physician Resources Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, and is a reviewer for several peer-reviewed scientific journals. Dr. Mehta’s clinical interests and expertise include head and neck cancer surgery, thyroid and parathyroid surgery, salivary gland malignancies, minimally-invasive head and neck surgery, and robotic surgery.
Head and Neck Cancer Becoming More Common in Younger Demographics
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.
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