LOCAL HEALTH ALERT: HPV directly related to Throat Cancer; doctors urge vaccination

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BARTLETT, Tenn. — Cancer specialists are urging everyone to get vaccinated for Human Papilloma-Virus or HPV to ultimately prevent throat cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and very common.

“For every woman who has throat cancer, there are four men that have throat cancer related to HPV,” said Dr. Courtney Shires a surgeon at West Cancer Center and Research Institute.

Dr. Shires specializes in Throat Cancer. It’s a cancer that develops within the tissues at the base of the tongue and within the tonsils.

She said, “This tissue is less resilient to cancer invasion.”

She tells Local 24 News, contrary to popular belief, Throat Cancer has a direct link to HPV, and not just unhealthy habits.  

Dr. Shires said, “The biggest reason is HPV. It’s not your typical cancer patient. These are not smokers, drinkers.”

She says HPV can develop into cancer in the throat, and sometimes decades later, a patient can show little to no symptoms. She recommends all children get vaccinated before they become sexually active as early as nine years old.

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