The rhetoric around the HPV vaccine and the recommendation that we vaccinate girls against cervical cancer has reached a fevered pitch. But while the HPV vaccine is being debated, a silent epidemic has gone unrecognized and is brewing. HPV has crossed gender lines and become the number one cause of oropharyngeal cancer in the nation for both men and women.
According to the National Cancer Institute, oropharyngeal cancer has reached epidemic proportions with over 20,000 new cases annually. This cancer attacks the middle part of the pharynx (throat) behind the mouth, and includes the back one-third of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat, and the tonsils.