In the past, cancer of the oropharynx throat was associated with the use of alcohol or tobacco or both, but the majority of cases are now associated with the HPV virus , acquired by having oral contact with the genitals oral-genital sex of a person who has a genital HPV infection. Risk factors include having a large number of sexual partners, a history of oral-genital sex or anal—oral sex , having a female partner with a history of either an abnormal Pap smear or cervical dysplasia , having chronic periodontitis , and, among men, younger age at first intercourse and a history of genital warts. The extent of disease is described in the standard cancer staging system , using the AJCC TNM system, based on the T stage size and extent of tumor , N stage extent of involvement of regional lymph nodes and M stage whether there is spread of the disease outside the region or not , and combined into an overall stage from I—IV. Whereas most head and neck cancers have been declining as reduced smoking rates have declined, HPV-positive OPC has been increasing. In addition, they tend to have smaller tumours, but are more likely to have involvement of the cervical lymph nodes. Early data suggest a reduction in infection rates.
Cancer cell gene deactivation boosts immunotherapy for head, neck cancers: Study
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Cancer symptoms: The first warning sign of nasopharyngeal cancer - a painless swelling