Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blame the mama, part infinity

Four years ago I found myself impatiently waiting for radiation. If you were more than ten minutes late, your appointment was cancelled. If they are late, well, that's just too bad. Usually I sat with other breast cancer patients but on this particular day, I was alone with a man about my age. He shared that he had throat  cancer.
Do you want to know how I got it?


My mother gave it to me. She had HPV was I was born and I got infected coming out.

I had never heard of such a thing. If I were a defense attorney for the mama, I would have asked if there wasn't some more likely activity that he engaged in that would have exposed him to HPV more recently? But maybe Mama's vijayjay was as close as he got to a woman (or a man). I did look this up as soon as I returned home. That HPV could cause throat cancer in men (mainly: it causes cervical cancer in women) was a relatively new finding discovered at UM no less. It is allegedly one of the fastest growing segments of new cancer cases. On the positive side for these men, it is much less fatal than the type believed to be caused by smoking and drinking.

Flash forward to yesterday. I am drinking my coffee while doing my killer sudoku half listening to the Today Show. One of the anchors piped up in disgust that Michael Douglas told an interviewer that he got his throat cancer by having oral sex with an HPV infected woman.

Everybody knows that he got it because he's a hard drinker and heavy smoker.

Silly, silly woman. (where is Ann Curry? I liked her better). I really hate it when people try to blame people for their cancer. Before saying this,she should have consulted a medical person. It is relatively easy to tell if throat cancer is caused by HPV or not. Even if he hadn't had a test, the fact he has recovered from Stage 4 cancer is a clue that it is different from the smoker's throat cancer. Now where he got the HPV is another story..Would she have been less disgusted if he said he got it while being born? As it turned out, he back-pedaled saying he wasn't for sure when he became infected especially since his ex-wife was furious that this implied she had HPV. At any rate, he didn't know he was exposing himself to throat cancer while engaging  in this activity so as a public service, he was warning others. So what is the chance that this activity will lead to throat cancer? 15,000 new cases in men between 50-65 are popping up per year. I don't have any statistics on how many of these men did this but I am guessing that this is a low risk activity.

Now with that new vaccine, perhaps 30 years later, the rates will go down. Or even faster, if boys start getting vaccinated too.

1 comment:

Teri Bernstein said...

Michael Douglas might have been trying to get more action by bragging that he got throat cancer from giving oral sex.


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