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Oral Cancer vs HPV: The World According to Michael Douglas

Posted Jun 04 2013 3:00am
Wow!  What an interesting new trend.  Celebrities getting into the headlines for medical reasons.  No, dying doesn't really count.  And I guess two isn't really a trend, at least not yet.  But who can forget Angelina Jolie's frank discussion last month about her rationale for prophylactic mastectomy .  And as of this past Sunday's interview in the Guardian , who can now forget that Michael Douglas has inexorably & forever more linked oral cancer to oral sex, specifically cunnilingus.

But if you have the time and inclination, I'd recommend a nice summary of the data published in the online version of Newsweek , as intended for the non-medical professional, that might make you think twice.  If you want the medical professional's take, check this out , because the truth, especially medical science, is never as black & white as you'd like it to be.  But here's some food for thought, especially if you have young children.  There currently exists 2 vaccines against high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV) that's been associated w/various cancers .  

However, the vaccines only work prior to exposure to HPV.  Once you've been infected, you've got it for life.  Granted there are hundreds of different subtypes of HPV, which is partly why the 2-3 shot series is offered over a wide range of ages to both genders.  And no, these vaccines are not without controversy and risk.  But if you decide to err on not giving/getting the vaccine, either you'll need to avoid oral sex or plan on using a dental dam each & every time , if you want to lower your risk for oral cancer.

So, any guesses as to the next celebrity-medical headline?


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