Michael Douglas’ throat cancer

• June 16, 2013 • Comments (0)

There’s been a huge media storm over actor Michael Douglas’ statement that the type of throat cancer he had is often caused by HPV, the same virus that causes genital warts and other cancers, such as cervical cancer.  The virus also causes the warts on the vocal cords that can  be effectively treated by the CO2 laser or new (safer) KTP laser I profiled in this blog last month.   The furor ranges from juvenile jokes about where he might have gotten it, to calls for Catherine Zeta-Jones to divorce him.

I think he was just making an excellent public service announcement (“PSA”).   Throat cancer and warts ARE largely caused by type 16 HPV virus (70% of all throat cancer cases in the US are tied to HPV).   Almost all of the sexually active population will get one of the 40 strains of HPV during their lifetime (but 90% don’t know it because their bodies clear the virus spontaneously).   The public service announcement is that HPV can be prevented by a vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix), which is available to young men and women into their early twenties.  It would be great to eradicate this disease in a couple of generations.   Thanks, Michael.

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Category: Papillomatosis, Voice problem

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