image by: Maddy Julien
Overall the incidence of head and neck cancer is going down. The bad news is another type of head and neck cancer is on the rise and is related to a common STD...HPV (Human Papillomavirus) the same virus implicated in cervical cancer
Adam "MCA" Yauch, one of the founding members of the rap group the Beastie Boys, announced this week that he has cancer. In a video posted on the Beastie Boys web site Yauch describes his symptoms and diagnosis, “about two months ago I started feeling this little lump in my throat, checked with my doctor and was told I actually have a form of cancer in the salivary gland, the parotid gland, and also in the lymph node". Yauch says he will undergo surgery next week with radiation treatments to follow.
Worldwide, head and neck cancer is the 6th most common malignancy. Head and Neck cancer usually begins with painless swelling in the face or neck, but other symptoms include fluid draining from the ear, pain, numbness, weakness and trouble swallowing. If you notice any of these symptoms don't ignore them; see your doctor or dentist right away.
When head and neck cancer is caught early the average survival rate is more than 90 percent. The type of treatment offered will depend on the position of the cancer, the type of cancer, and the overall health of the patient. The best outcomes for salivary cancer are seen when the tumor occurs in one of the larger salivary glands such as the parotid gland.
Exposure to radiation, use of tobacco and alcohol and recent research suggests that oral sex may increase your risk! Why? It has now been shown that the HPV virus can cause head and neck cancer, as well as cervical cancer.
As a result of the diagnosis, the Beastie Boys have postponed the release of their album "Hot Sauce Committee Part 1” and canceled all upcoming tour dates including the headlining slot at Lollapolooza. Yauch said, "I apologize to everybody, for anyone who's made plans or was psyched to come to these shows that are coming up. I just need to take a little time to get this in check, and then we'll release the record and play some shows. It's a pain in the neck because I was really looking forward to playing these shows, but the doctors have made it clear that this is not the kind of thing that can be put aside to deal with later". Yauch assured fans that his cancer is highly treatable, and despite its proximity to his throat, his voice will not be affected. He said that additional testing shows cancer has not spread to the rest of his body.
The take-home message to help prevent head and neck cancer is...one needs to add modifying one's sexual behavior to the usual risk factors, namely smoking and alcohol.
Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.
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