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Medix FTP Service (the "Service") is designed to provide you with an easy way to transfer files relevant to the management of your case to Medix Medical Services Europe Limited ("Medix", "we" and "us").


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Papilloma - Not Just a Girl's Issue

By: Medix team

Papilloma Vaccinations are routinely offered to prevent cervical cancer. Studies now show that vaccinating also prevents oral and head & neck cancers. Hollywood actor Michael Douglass probably would have liked to know about this sooner

Most people are familiar with the Papilloma virus, specifically with the fact that it is responsible for causing most cases of cervical cancer. While this effect is well known, a recent study has shown that people infected with the virus have 22 times higher risk of developing oral cancer and seven times the risk of developing a general head and neck malignancy.


Many different strands of the Papilloma virus exist, and they usually transfer from one person to another during sexual intercourse. People can get infected merely by coming into contact with a carrier's skin. For this very reason, contraception is not always effective in preventing widespread infection rates.


The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US has conducted studies on the topic, showing shocking rates of spread. According to their estimates, 80-90% of sexually active individuals will contract the virus at some point in their lives. Of those infected, half will contract the strand that raises the risk of cancer.


The only way of fully preventing infection is getting vaccinated. For anyone who feels squeamish about vaccinations or injections, it is probably worth reading the latest study that was published in JAMA Oncology. The data used in the research was provided by the American Cancer Association. 96,650 cancer free participants provided saliva samples for research. The researchers followed up with these patients four years later finding that 132 of them had head and neck tumors.


The group of participants that had been diagnosed with cancer was compared with a control group of 396 subjects of similar age and background with no diagnosis of cancer. Analysis showed that the incidence of cancer correlated with those that were diagnosed with Papilloma. As mentioned above; 22 times higher chance of oral cancer, and 7 times higher chance of contracting any head and neck cancer.


While the connection between the virus and cancer was already known in the context of cervical cancer “This study is unique because it shows for the first time that HPV-16 detected in the oral cavity precedes the development of oropharyngeal cancer,” explains Dr. Ilir Agalliu. As such, the study contributes both to our understanding of the causal factors behind malignancies, and stresses the importance of promoting widespread use of vaccines.   

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