At the time of analyses (November 2005), % of the patients (21 of 45 patients) were alive and % (24 of 45 patients) were dead (17 died due to primary disease, 2 died due to a second primary tumor, and 5 deaths were related to other causes). There were no surgery-related mortalities (within the first 3 months). Of the 45 patients, % ( n = 13 patients) developed local recurrences (median, 6 months; range, 5–26 months), % ( n = 11 patients) developed a neck recurrence (median, 5 months; range, 1–20 months), and % ( n = 4 patients) had distant metastases (median, 9 months; range, 6–13 months). In total, 16 patients had local and/or neck recurrence. Three patients underwent salvage surgery (1 died of heart disease 61 months after successful salvage therapy and 2 died of disease) and 13 received palliative treatment.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts or present itself without symptoms. If left untreated, it can also cause cancers of the cervix, anus, penis, vulva, vagina — and head and neck cancers. “HPV being a cause of head and neck cancer was really only accepted about five years ago,” says Dr. Maura Gillison, a professor at the Ohio State University who studies HPV infections in the head, throat and neck. “Before then, no one really cared about oral HPV infections.”
It is important to detect cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx as early as possible because treatment works best before the disease has spread. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and ACS encourage people to take an active role in the early detection of these cancers by performing monthly self-examinations. The Oral Health Education Foundation recommends the following steps (below) when examining your mouth. Take special note of any red or white patches, lumps or thickening of skin, tissue, or gums, a sore that either does not heal properly (after a 1- to 2-week period), or a sore that tends to bleed easily or excessively. In addition, be sure to take note of a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, or difficulty maneuvering the jaw during chewing or swallowing. Be sure to consult your doctor right away if any of these symptoms are present: