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Professor Mehanna talks to Quest

In the latest University of Birmingham Quest article Professor Mehanna talks about the increase in head and neck cancers due to the rise in human papilloma virus (HPV).

Professor Mehanna explained “HPV related cancers are on the increase across the world. In the UK up to 70% of throat cancers are due to, or related to, HPV and a decade ago this wasn’t the case. Fundamentally it’s due to a change in sexual practice, and for head and neck cancers it is strongly associated with oral sex and large numbers of sexual partners. It’s something that probably started really in the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, but took decades to fully develop into the common risk factor that we see today.”

Professor Mehanna went on to say “Head and neck cancer tends to be something of a forgotten area, It’s not as prevalent as some of the more common cancers; lung cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer; and the outcomes are often more positive than many, including pancreatic cancer. So despite the big rise – in Scotland, for example, it’s the fasting rising cancer - the funding and public awareness is yet to follow. There’s a disconnect there that needs bridging.”

You can read the whole article and see the video interview at UoB Quest

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