Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Can one get oropharyngeal cancer through kissing? This is not fully known. It is thought that deep kissing is a risk factor. Studies have shown that increased number of lifetime sexual partners is a risk factor for developing HPV-related throat cancer.
- What are the ways one can avoid getting oropharyngeal cancer? Currently, Guardasil, the tetravalent HPV vaccine (covers high risk HPV subtypes 6, 11,16 18), is the best recommendation for avoidance of HPV-related throat cancer. However, it will work only for those patients who have not been exposed to the virus. Thus, the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is to vaccinate boys and girls before they become sexually active.
- If my partner has oropharyngeal cancer what is my risk of getting oropharyngeal cancer? This is currently unknown. However, there are no studies showing partners of patients with HPV-related throat cancers are higher risk in developing the disease than the general population. For those, patients with partners who have HPV-related throat cancers, currently there are no recommendations for vaccination, nor avoidance. It has to be kept in mind only a small portion of patients who carry the high risk HPV virus in their throat, will develop the disease.
- Is there a test available to tell me if I have the high risk HPV virus in my throat? No, currently there are no commercially available tests to check for the virus in the throat.
Jemal A, Simard EP, Dorell C, et al. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2009, featuring the burden and trends in human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers and HPV vaccination coverage levels. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Feb 6;105(3):175-201
Gillison ML, D’Souza G, Westra W, et al. Distinct risk factor profiles for human papillomavirus type 16-positive and human papillomavirus type 16-negative head and neck cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008;100(6):407-20
Heck JE, Berthiller J, Vaccarella S, et al. Sexual behaviours and the risk of head and neck cancers: a pooled analysis in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) consortium. Int J Epidemiol. 2010; 39(1):166-81
Kelly, K., S. Johnson-Obaseki, J. Lumingu and M. Corsten (2014). Oncologic, functional and surgical outcomes of primary Transoral Robotic Surgery for early squamous cell cancer of the oropharynx: A systematic review. Oral Oncol. 2014 Aug;50(8):696-703
Lee, S. Y., Y. M. Park, H. K. Byeon, E. C. Choi and S. H. Kim (2013). Comparison of oncologic and functional outcomes after transoral robotic lateral oropharyngectomy versus conventional surgery for T1 to T3 tonsillar cancer. Head Neck, 2014 Aug;36(8):1138-45.
Moore, E. J., S. M. Olsen, R. R. Laborde, J. J. Garcia, F. J. Walsh, D. L. Price, J. R. Janus, J. L. Kasperbauer and K. D. Olsen (2012). Long-term functional and oncologic results of transoral robotic surgery for oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Mayo Clin Proc 87(3): 219-225.
More, Y. I., T. T. Tsue, D. A. Girod, J. Harbison, K. J. Sykes, C. Williams and Y. Shnayder (2013). Functional swallowing outcomes following transoral robotic surgery vs primary chemoradiotherapy in patients with advanced-stage oropharynx and supraglottis cancers. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 139(1): 43-48.
Park, Y. M., W. S. Kim, H. K. Byeon, S. Y. Lee and S. H. Kim (2013). Oncological and functional outcomes of transoral robotic surgery for oropharyngeal cancer. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 51(5): 408-412.
Weinstein, G. S., B. W. O’Malley, Jr., J. S. Magnuson, W. R. Carroll, K. D. Olsen, L. Daio, E. J. Moore and F. C. Holsinger (2012). Transoral robotic surgery: a multicenter study to assess feasibility, safety, and surgical margins. Laryngoscope 122(8): 1701-1707.
White, H., S. Ford, B. Bush, F. C. Holsinger, E. Moore, T. Ghanem, W. Carroll, E. Rosenthal, L. Sweeny and J. S. Magnuson (2013). Salvage surgery for recurrent cancers of the oropharynx: comparing TORS with standard open surgical approaches. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 139(8): 773-778.
White, H. N., E. J. Moore, E. L. Rosenthal, W. R. Carroll, K. D. Olsen, R. A. Desmond and J. S. Magnuson (2010). Transoral robotic-assisted surgery for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: one- and 2-year survival analysis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 136(12): 1248-1252.